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by Christina Sabo, Director of Marketing & Communications


“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the US.  It is an enduring, unbreakable thread of African American history being woven through the tapestry of Mercy.”

-Benvinda Pereira, RSM


What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth honors the day in 1865 when enslaved people were finally free upon the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas after the end of the Civil War. By the late 1800s the ex-enslaved in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and other southwestern states were commemorating “freedom’s arrival” in the middle of June with a celebration annually they referred to as Juneteen. Eventually, African American descendants have evolved this pronunciation to Juneteenth

Local History

Those local to Macon probably know of our rich history dating all the way back to 1823 when our city was founded on the banks of the Ocmulgee River. Since our founding, historic landmarks such as Macon’s Terminal Station on Fifth and Cherry Street, Cotton Avenue and Pleasant Hill are only a few of the many distinct reminders of our past visually depicting the history of segregation of a world so different than we experience today.

Here in Macon, enslaved African Americans became “freedmen” in April of 1865, when Macon was surrendered at Tattnall Square Park to the troops of Union Army General Wilson and July 1865, after a formal proclamation of the end of slavery made from the Bibb County courthouse. In July 1865, the U.S. Freedmen’s Bureau arrived at this time in Macon to provide assistance to the formerly enslaved. This time in our history was the beginning to a long-awaited journey for so many African American families in the south.

Catholic Schools Integrating in Middle Georgia

All Catholic Schools in Macon pre-dated integration of the public school system and did so by voluntarily integrating by exchanging students. Founded in 1876 by the Sisters of Mercy, our very own Mount de Sales Academy, was the very first school to integrate in 1963. 

Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement in Macon written by Mercer University HERE.

“The Church hears the suffering cry of all who are uprooted from their own land, of families forcefully separated, of those who, in the rapid changes of our day, are unable to find a stable home anywhere. She senses the anguish of those without rights, without any security, at the mercy of every kind of exploitation, and she supports them in their unhappiness.” 

-St. John Paul II, World Migration Day 2000

Continuing to Protect the Vulnerable Through Prayer

Let us not forget the challenging roads, obstacles and hurdles that so many before us endured and conquered to pave the way for our many freedoms today. We must love unconditionally and intentionally, living a life like Christ intended through prayer and understanding through each passing day.

The Sisters of Mercy’s foundress, the Venerable Catherine McAuley, lived her life dedicated to living out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Caring for those who were disadvantaged and vulnerable was very close to her heart. Let us ask for her intercession in prayer today to aid us to continue to work passionately for equality and to be proponents for love amidst all circumstances. 

Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, and serves students in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and other surrounding counties. MDS is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.