Juneteenth Celebration scheduled for June 19

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Residents from Mount Olive and surrounding communities are invited to attend the first-ever Juneteenth Celebration, June 19, at Westbrook Park.

The event, which runs from 2-6 p.m., is hosted by the Mount Olive chapter of the Carver High School Alumni and Friends Association Inc.

Emmy Award-winning Willa Brigham of Cary and host of the television show “Smart Start Kids,” is the featured guest.

Entertainment includes the Southern Wayne High School drumlines, directed by alum Deanta Thomas, the brother and sister dance team of Natalie and Jimmy Jones of Dudley, Dancing Diva of Destruction from La Grange, an Xtreme hip-hop exercise demonstration by Denise Clark of Mount Olive and the Souls of Joy from La Grange.

Other activities include childrens’ games, pickle train rides, a vehicle show and an art show by Mount Olive resident Cynthia Jones. Community booths will be set up for festival-goers to browse and learn more about area churches, civic organizations and small businesses.

The celebration concludes with a presentation by local chapter President Lula Powell.

Juneteenth is a national holiday that honors the emancipation of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing the end of the Civil War and freedom for those enslaved. These troops arrived 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.

The first-ever Juneteenth celebration was held in 1866 in Galveston.

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. One day later, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper proclaimed June 19 as a state holiday.

In his proclamation, Cooper encouraged North Carolinians “…to observe Juneteenth as an opportunity to reflect, rejoice and plan for a brighter future as we continue to address racial injustices in our society today…”

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