Ghana commemorates slaves emancipation day

The event, more popular in the USA, is held on June 19 each year to celebrate the freeing of African Americans who were enslaved over 400 years ago. The day is a national holiday in the US

Ghana has hosted its first commemoration of the declaration of emancipation of slaves, popularly known as Juneteenth, in Accra.

The commemoration, held in Accra, was to recognise the efforts and struggle of the over 2,000 enslaved African American in Texas who received the news of their freedom two years after the proclamation.

The day was marked by the African American Association of Ghana in partnership with the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Diaspora Affairs with a parade from the W.E.B Dubois Centre to the Gold Coast Lounge where many gathered to make memories and celebrate the day.


The term Juneteenth is derived from combining June and 19th, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order, issued two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1865 for slaves in Texas.

It is broadly celebrated by African-American culture and was first recognised as a federal holiday in 2021, when the US President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

African spirit

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Akwasi Agyeman, said the day was a throwback and a representation of the survival and resilience of the African Spirit.

“Juneteenth is not just a day to march and celebrate but it is also a day that reminds us that no other race could have gone through what our forefathers went through and survived so today we celebrate the survival and resilience of the African spirit,” he said.

He added that the day was to celebrate the rich African culture and heritage and to be reminded that there was still more work to be done.

“Even though we are free, we need a mental emancipation so that we can realise that wherever you are, you are reminded that you have a home called Africa and those of us in Africa also need to be reminded that our brothers and sisters on the other side also struggle with social injustice and are fighting for equality for all,” he said.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku Mantey, stated that the government had put in effort and placed value on people in the diaspora because it believed in the value they brought to the table.

He encouraged all people from the diaspora to see the country as their home and feel free to be part of the activities geared towards Pan Africanism.

“We place a lot of value on our people from the diaspora because we know what you bring on board, we know that if we bring you on board as part of the growth of Africa, we can grow at a faster pace,” he said.

Spirit of resistance

The President of the African American Association of Ghana, Diallo Sumbry said it was important and significant to commemorate the day in the country because Ghana was at the forefront of resistance.

“The spirit of resistance started right here in Ghana and that spirit is what they carried across over the sea and that resistance went through up to Juneteenth,” he said.

He said the aim of the association was to promote cultural, social, spiritual and economic well-being, while reintegrating into Ghanaian society.

“We strive to facilitate the cultural, social, educational and economic integration of African Americans and other people of African descent returning from the diaspora into Ghanaian society,” he added.

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