TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)__The Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, but southern states were slow to acknowledge the Federal Government's order. Freedom came in waves to the south, and for some states it took years until slaves found out about their freedom.
"Juneteenth took place on June 19th 1865 and by then the war had already been over, but it is when the Emancipation Proclamation was read and people finally responded to it," said author and historian, Debra Goodrich Bisel.
It was a response so impactful that Juneteenth became an annual event to celebrate the hope for a race of american people once sold to the highest bidder.
Bisel, in an emotional state, recalls an account from that time period. "A woman found out that she could set her slave free and she went to the mother and told her. The mother went to her baby and kissed her hands and feet and you can only imagine the hope that she had for her child that it would lead a new life. That is how much Juneteenth meant to these people."
On wednesday June 19th at 7 p.m. at the 2nd Baptist Church in North Topeka, residents will relay the significance of Juneteenth.
Marietta Patterson, organizer of the Juneteenth celebration in Topeka said, "If we forget than we are forgetting everything that these people strived for. It was all done to bring us together but not break us apart."
Kansas is one of 42 states that recognize Juneteenth as a day of observance.