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Danville Parks and Recreation is gearing up for a picnic-style celebration on Sunday, June 20, to mark Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas and the last group of enslaved African Americans were told they were free.
Sunday’s event will be from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Carrington Pavilion. Vendors will be on hand to highlight local, Black-owned businesses and organizations. The picnic-style gathering encourages people to bring lawn chairs and food.
Mayor Alonzo Jones urges citizens to educate themselves about Juneteenth. An easy way to do that is to attend the event, he said.
“For African-Americans, it is Freedom Day, so by celebrating the Juneteenth holiday, citizens are celebrating a holiday just as important as the Fourth of July and Memorial Day,” he said. Jones says residents need to be aware that Juneteenth is “an important milestone in American culture.”
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a Union General rode into Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”
The event on Sunday will feature a battle of the disc jockeys, when “DJ Latoya” and” DJ B-Stupid” play music “back and forth to show off their skills and playlist. Holbrook and Spring Street will be highlighted during a civil rights tour hosted by Karice Luck.
Famed local storyteller Fred Motely will have an exhibit about the area’s African American history, and the Kuumba dancers will perform.
Gates open at 3 p.m. For more information, call (434)799-5150.