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GALLERY: How Pahrump marked Juneteenth

Several members of the community met at the Black Cow’s open-mic session on Wednesday evening, followed by a candlelight vigil at the corner of Highway 160 and Basin Avenue in the Petrack Park parking lot. Hymns and songs of freedom were sung by the group to mark Juneteenth in Pahrump for the fourth year since President Joe Biden signed the nation’s newest holiday into law in 2021.

Juneteenth marks the day the last enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 — 2-1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation, abolished slavery.

Ms. Senior Golden Years 2023, Althea Jones, who helped mark Juneteenth in Pahrump on Wednesday said the holiday was a “joyous” occasion.

“When I think about 2 1/2 years later [enslaved people in Galveston] found out, to me that’s very disgraceful,” Jones said. “I think freedom should be for everybody, and to be able to free the slaves completely is just joy — definitely a joy. Keep the freedom going.”

This year’s Juneteenth celebration featured a subdued observance at the Black Cow Coffee House, on the corner of Calvada and Pahrump Valley Boulevard.

The Black-owned business opened in town about two months ago and hosted events all day on Wednesday, including an open-mic session featuring spoken-word artists, singing and remarks on the holiday.

The Black Cow’s owner, Quinton Jeffrey, a 40-something whose passion is coffee and creating specialty drinks, says Juneteenth means something altogether “very different” to him.

“Every day is a new day, every day is a blessing,” he said. “As far as the meaning behind [Juneteenth], of course it’s a triumph for everyone’s freedom, but it’s just another day I’m living and I’m grateful for that.”

Saundra Fisher, who attended Wednesday’s Juneteenth candlelight vigil in Pahrump, said the federal recognition of the holiday was a “long time coming,” but there is still work to be done in the fight for civil rights.

“… There are still many, many places where there is a lot of inequity simply because of the color of someone’s skin, because of what they believe,” Fisher said. “I would pray that Juneteenth would begin to move us toward unity, toward peace within our own country and ultimately us living in harmony for the betterment of the whole world.”

John Clausen is a freelance journalist based in Pahrump.

 

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