Juneteenth commemorates the day, June 19, 1865, when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with 2,000 soldiers and announced the end of slavery in the rebellious south. Ironically, slavery would continue that year in New Jersey until the end of December.
The Belleville Historical Society observed Juneteenth in Belleville, Bloomfield and Montclair. In Bloomfield and Montclair, gravestones of three individuals who were born into and had lived as slaves were cleaned and decorated. Luvenia and Joseph Lloyd were slaves on a plantation in Barbara County, Alabama, when they were married. They eventually moved north and lived in East Orange and are buried at Bloomfield Cemetery on Belleville Avenue. Anthony Thompson was a slave in the household of Dr. Samuel Ward in Montclair. After being freed, he moved to West Orange and he is buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Montclair.
At St. Peter Cemetery in Belleville, a team of young church volunteers cleaned the gravestones of all of the Union Army veterans buried there. More than 350,000 Union Army soldiers died in the war which brought an end to slavery.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.