Juneteenth festivities set

Posted 6/16/20

Madisonville’s Juneteenth Organization will commemorate the historic holiday this weekend with a celebration at the Juneteenth Center Friday and a peaceful walk from the courthouse to the center Saturday morning.

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Juneteenth festivities set

Posted

Madisonville’s Juneteenth Organization will commemorate the historic holiday this weekend with a celebration at the Juneteenth Center Friday and a peaceful walk from the courthouse to the center Saturday morning.

The weekend’s events were put together by April Ford of the Juneteenth Organization, along with Trevor Johnson, Camry Isaac, Tyra McCloud, Sharda Manning and Destiny McKibbins, and come in lieu of the traditional parade.

The walk was approved by city officials, and the Madisonville Police Department will handle traffic control. According to organizers, it was scheduled in light of similar peaceful demonstrations taking place throughout the nation and world, sparked when an African American man named George Floyd was killed by a police officer on camera in Minneapolis May 25.

“The timing was right to go ahead and do a peaceful demonstration on Saturday,” said Ford. “It gives us a chance to make history and be a part of history, as our ancestors were. It is very important that we have the opportunity to lead and demonstrate a peaceful march like our grandparents did before us.”

Separate from peaceful demonstrations, the fallout of Floyd’s killing also brought mass civil unrest to a number of major cities across the country and multiple clashes between citizens and law enforcement officials.

“The ultimate message for us is love,” said Ford. “We are doing this in light of racial injustice that we are seeing, but the message is to just love one another. If we do that, we will not have to worry about things like this.”

Friday, the official day of commemoration, will feature a community-wide event at the Juneteenth Center including food, drink and water activities for children. It will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Citizens of all races and backgrounds are encouraged to attend the event Friday as well as Saturday’s walk, which will begin at the Madison County Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at the Juneteenth Center. It will be followed by a brief presentation on African American history.

After walking around the square, it will commence down Highway 21, Panama Street, Trinity Street, South MLK Blvd. to the Juneteenth Center on Seventh Street.

Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration of slavery’s abolishment in the United States, dating back to June 19, 1865. While southern slaves were freed as a war measure by President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, and subsequently freed for good by Constitutional provision with the Thirteenth Amendment’s passage in February 1865, it was not until June 19 when news of freedom finally reached Galveston, more than two months after Robert E. Lee's surrender and Lincoln’s assassination.

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