A festive gathering of St. Philip's College students, employees, alumni and employers were present as spectators and participants for the college's 2019 Juneteenth Freedom Day project.
Photo: St. Philip's College participants in the June 15, 2019 SPC Juneteenth Project, which included marching in the 40th Anniversary Juneteenth parade. Credit: St. Philip’s College
The highlight of the project involved the college's students marching in the local parade that annually celebrates the event---the 40th Official State Holiday Juneteenth Parade---June 15.
The event allowed students to celebrate with community members, families in town for the event, and even local Buffalo Soldiers. While some students rode on floats, most chose to walk in a procession led by the grand marshal—a local hero in the fields of national security and civil rights—fourth generation San Antonian Oliver W. Hill. Hill is retired from serving with Kelly Air Force Base for more than 37 and served twice as leader of the San Antonio Branch NAACP.
As the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth Freedom Day is considered a special event for St. Philip’s College, which began in 1898 as a school for the daughters of former slaves. Beyond the college, the project was especially relevant for the public since 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of Texas’ 1979 legislation for the Juneteenth Holiday.
The march is the signature element of the college's engagement with the local organizers of the Juneteenth Parade. With the official Juneteenth holiday falling on June 19, SPC students have been attending classes this week and reflecting on how they observed an unforgettable civic event with the rest of the city a few days early.