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‘Celebrate Freedom’ with Juneteenth observance June 19

A parade to celebrate Juneteenth will take place Saturday, June 19, in Brookhaven, followed by an observance at A. L. Lott baseball field.

The 2021 theme is “Celebrate Freedom.”

“I would like to see people get more educated about it,” said NAACP #5268 president, the Rev. Dr. Rico Cain. “They need to know what Juneteenth represents.”

Juneteenth — also known as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day or Emancipation Day — is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the United States. It commemorates the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when the final group of slaves were reached by Union Army messenger letting them know of the official end of slavery in the nation. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and one-half years earlier by Pres. Abraham Lincoln.

The celebrations have occurred annually since then with church- or festival-centered observances. Forty-eight states recognize Juneteenth, according to the Congressional Research Service, and most contemporary observances are local celebrations, like the one planned for Brookhaven.

No local organized celebration was observed in the city during 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and people are happy and excited to celebrate this year, Cain said.

The Juneteenth Celebration Parade will begin at Williams Mortuary at 10 a.m. The route will proceed north on Second Street, turn right onto Main Street, then south on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive where participants will travel to the A. L. Lott ballpark. Selected speakers will address the crowd there.

Costs to ride in the parade are $7 per ATV (no 4-wheelers), $10 per car and $15 per truck. For more information or to register for the parade, contact Cain at 601-754-9637 or committee chair Kychell Little at 601-320-4366.