Acworth prepares for first Juneteenth celebration, passes budget

Acworth City Hall in article about Baker Road annexationAcworth City Hall sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

By Arielle Robinson

Acworth’s city council passed its first proclamation honoring Juneteenth Thursday evening, as well as approving the city budget for fiscal year 2022.

Mayor Tommy Allegood presented the city’s proclamation to Earnest and Terese Davis, the former being a Black small business owner.

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Acworth has joined along with the federal government in recognizing the holiday that was initially celebrated by formerly enslaved communities.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, originated in Galveston, Texas, in 1865.

Before the 13th Amendment was ratified and officially abolished slavery nationwide in 1865, 16th US President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring that all enslaved people in Confederate states were free.

Although the proclamation was declared in 1863, enslaved people in Texas did not receive the message that they were free until two and a half years later.

On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 to people living in Texas, saying that all people held in slavery in Texas were free.

Since then, formerly enslaved people in Texas celebrated June 19 as the day that slavery ended.

This celebration spread to other states but is just now being federally recognized.

“Juneteenth is … a time to celebrate achievements and contributions that African-Americans have made to our economic, cultural, spiritual, political development,” Allegood read from the city’s proclamation.

Earnest Davis said he could only think of what it was like when enslaved people learned that they were free over two years later after the Emancipation Proclamation.

The mayor encouraged everyone in Acworth to celebrate Juneteenth.

Weather permitting, the city will host its first Juneteenth celebration Saturday at Logan Farm Park, beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at around 9 p.m.

The event is named “Concert on the Green: A Juneteenth Celebration.”

Alderman Tim Houston along with Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid will be speaking ahead of a jazz band performing a concert that evening.

Acworth’s Board of Aldermen also unanimously approved the city’s fiscal year 2022 budget at Thursday’s meeting.

The board approved a total general fund expenditure of $18,677,739, down from FY 2021’s current budget of $19,061,494.

For FY 2022, Acworth’s total revenues add up to $18,596,565, which is also lower than FY 2021’s current revenues of $19,067,149.

These numbers are not final, as the city will receive its tax evaluations at the end of the month and will adjust its millage rate in mid-July.

These two factors could adjust the budget in the coming months.

To view the budget, click here.

Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She also freelances for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and is the former president of KSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a former CNN intern. She enjoys music, reading, and live shows.