As Dr. Raen Parker Washington, a poet, writer, and spoken word artist, explains, celebrating Juneteenth has many aspects.

“Juneteenth is a story of triumph, a celebration of freedom that continues to inspire,” she said, inviting the public to the Anderson County Main Library’s Electric City Makerspace.

Monique Law draws on a bookmarked she made at A Juneteenth Celebration with DocRaen Washington at the Electric City Creative Makerspace in the Anderson County Library Monday, June 17, 2024. Dr. Washington lead a program with spoken word and history, along with creative mixed media art projects.

“The Juneteenth “RED” Celebration is a tapestry of Resilience, Education, and Determination (RED)- the very color that weaves through the fabric of its flag and shared American Spirit.

The Juneteenth flag features red, white, and blue, with the red stripe representing struggle and sacrifice. The white stars on the flag represent the emancipation of enslaved Black people in Texas, where the freeing took place, and the blue represents the fight for equality and justice ahead, according to the National Museum.

“Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as Juneteenth by the newly freed people in Texas,” according to the National Museum of African-American History & Culture.

Sara Leady, Head of Reader Services & Creative Programming at Anderson County Library, talks about the Juneteenth flag and artwork during a Juneteenth Celebration with DocRaen at the Electric City Creative Makerspace in the Anderson County Library Monday, June 17, 2024.

This is the fourth year that Juneteenth has been a federal holiday since the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in June 2021, with President Joe Biden officially enacting the act on June 17.

The program included video replays of Opal Lee, considered the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” said Dr. Washington, of her persistence for years to make it a federal holiday.

The next video showed President Biden signing it into law.

Workshop activities included a mixed media art bookmarked, a collage, and reading a “community poem” pieced together from participants’ words.

There was a spotlight on black businesses, and the program ended with participants line dancing to “Before I Let You Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze.