Lithonia Juneteenth Farmer’s Market
We spent Juneteenth with the volunteer board of the Flat Rock Archives at the Lithonia Farmer’s Market in historic downtown Lithonia! In spite of the rain, we had plenty of people stop by to learn the story of one of Georgia’s oldest Black communities.
This was also a major year in the celebration of Juneteenth – President Biden signed a bill confirming this date as the newest federal holiday. Read on for our statement on Juneteenth:
Today is Juneteenth, the holiday which honors the end of slavery in the United States. As we take part in the first year of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, a major achievement and long-held goal of many civil rights activists, we must simultaneously express joy at the progress which this nation has made and acknowledge the lengths we still have to go. Juneteenth represents not only what has been accomplished, but also the possibility of a nation truly unified and equal – the glimmering chance at a union not simply more perfect, but one made truly perfect by acknowledgment of our national wrongs and by the uplifting of all peoples.
The end of slavery was not the end of the story, as we all know. T. A. Bryant, Sr. was one of the first Black people in DeKalb County to own land, something which did not happen until the early 1900s. Lucious Sanders, a WWII veteran, had to fight for the simple right to vote upon his return to Lithonia from overseas. The Bruce Street School, the area’s first Black public school, today stands in ruins. From the Jim Crow terror of the early 20th Century to the waving of a Confederate battle flag in the 2021 U. S. Capitol riot, the struggle against racism continues. And yet, throughout this complicated history, Black people have also defined America in the best of ways: musicians and writers and scientists and inventors; comedians such as Flat Rock’s own Chris Tucker, educators such as Lithonia’s C. E. Flagg, and civil rights advocates such as Maggie Woods, the first Black woman to sit on the Lithonia city council. Juneteenth encapsulates this thinly threaded line, acknowledging the past and expressing hope for the future, a joyous complexity as American as the Fourth of July.
Here are a few photos from the Lithonia Juneteenth Farmer’s Market: