First-ever Juneteenth celebration planned in Decatur

The spot where an obelisk confederate monument once stodd on the courthouse grounds, is shown before a press conference occurs in reference to it in Decatur. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger declared the monument that was erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, to be a public nuisance that should be removed. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION AJC FILE PHOTO
The spot where an obelisk confederate monument once stodd on the courthouse grounds, is shown before a press conference occurs in reference to it in Decatur. DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger declared the monument that was erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, to be a public nuisance that should be removed. JOHN AMIS FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION AJC FILE PHOTO

Event will also mark one-year anniversary of Confederate obelisk’s removal

The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights will host the city of Decatur’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration.

In addition to the traditional celebration of the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were finally told about the Emancipation Proclamation, the event will also mark the one-year anniversary of the removal of a Confederate monument on the Decatur square.

Festivities, which are co-sponsored by the city, will take place on the square from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

“Together we can propel and sustain the movement for the removal of symbols of hate through collaboration across communities in the South,” Fonta High, co-chair of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, said in a news release. “We invite activists and advocates to join us on Juneteenth for support and inspiration during this time of celebration.”

The event will include a youth art and mural project, vendors and music. Advocates and activists from around Georgia will also “share stories and lessons from the organizing to remove symbols of white supremacy in their local communities,” according to the press release.

The 30-foot Confederate obelisk was removed from the Decatur square last summer, as the night of June 18 turned into the morning of June 19. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger — who retired at the end of 2020 after a storied careersigned the order declaring it a public nuisance and ordering it to be placed in storage.

The obelisk had stood on the square since being erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1908.

“As we remember the removal of the Confederate obelisk on Juneteenth 2020,” Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said in a news release, “the city of Decatur is proud to be a partner in planning the first official Juneteenth event, and we look forward to this being the first of what we hope becomes an annual tradition.”

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