PALESTINE — The Negro Historical Preservation Society-Palestine Branch will celebrate the conclusion of slavery in the United States during the 21th annual Juneteenth Celebration taking place Thursday through Saturday, June 21 in Palestine.
Activities begin with the annual Juneteenth Pageant at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ben E. Keith Community Room; and continues with a fish fry and fellowship starting at 6 p.m. Friday at Calhoun Park.
Events culminate on Saturday with a parade and brief program at the Anderson County Courthouse, beginning at 10 a.m.
“(They will) speak on the Emancipation Proclamation and the Swanson/Bridge Slave Cemetery,” event spokesperson James Smith said.
After a presentation on the African American Heritage Trail brochure, a reenactment of the famous 1868 Freedman's March in Anderson County will take place.
“In the Freedmen’s reenactment, two Union soldiers will march the voters to the polls,” Smith said.
Following the program, the parade route begins at the courthouse, and will continue to Church Street, then to Murchison Street and conclude at Calhoun Park.
Festivities will continue until 4 p.m. and include a program with speakers, award presentations, music, food and games. The 11th Annual Juneteenth Pageant Queen and her Court will make an appearance.
Co-emcees will be Shirley Jackson-Davis and Erroll Tatum. Youth speakers will include Breanna Jackson, Johntaé Maxey and Tray Von Maxey. Maxine Session, editor, writer and co-publisher of The Informer, will be the guest speaker.
Those planning to attend activities at Calhoun Park are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.
“We have been celebrating Juneteenth since our first event in 1993,” co-organizer James Clayton said. “We always have a good response from the community and hope to this year too.
“This event is for everyone in Anderson County, not just Palestine,” he added. “We want this to be a countywide homecoming.”