Library friends, neighbors and community members gathered to celebrate Juneteenth, Black Music Month and fellowship at the third annual Juneteenth Celebration hosted by Library Partnership Neighborhood Resource Center, on Saturday, June 16, 2012, at NE 16th Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The celebration featured local speakers, musicians and performers including Africa 2000, Southland Spiritual Singers, Karen Johnson, the Lavern Porter Dancers, Library Partnership Idol contestants, Lanard Perry, the Revelation Band, J. Boyzz and Swag House Entertainment. Master of Ceremony Schwerin Henry welcomed the audience and introduced the morning speakers. Phillis Filer, ACLD Public Services Administrator, kicked off the program by sharing the history of Juneteenth. Vivian Filer, Chair of the Alachua County Library District Board of Trustees and long-time community supporter, presented the History of Black Music. Ms. Filer noted that President Obama recently renamed June as African American Music Appreciation Month.
For many the excitement was the greatest when three young women competed for a chance to claim first place in the Library Partnership Idol Competition. Chelsey DeGraff, accompanied by her dad on guitar, won first place, Kia Taylor claimed 2nd place and Karlie Stoe was third. Though there was only one winner, all came away with a great prizes and the experience of an on-stage competition in front of a live audience.
Raffle tickets for prizes and cool water kept the crowd going strong through the afternoon sun. Many of the prizes were donated by area businesses and organizations.
The Alachua County Library District would like to thank the Library Partnership and Partnership for Strong Families staff for planning and hosting this community event. Support from many local businesses, organizations and volunteers helped to provide the food, entertainment and prizes. Special thanks to Job Corps for donating materials and building the Juneteenth stage. Hungry Howies donated a portion of the pizza served for lunch. Burger King donated the punch and Library Partnership staff donated the bottled water. Volunteers from the Masonsic Lodge in Gainesville were on hand to help. WUFT-TV Channel 5 donated a tent to provide shade for spectators.
Generous donations of goods and services provided raffle prizes as well as first, second and third place prize packages for the Library Partnership Idol contestants. Sean Hunter of Crescendo Sound Studios provided a recording and demo for the first place winner. The Trophy Shop provided trophies for first, second and third place winners. The Partnership for Strong Families donated the Best Buy $100, $75 and $50 Best Buy gift cards. Macy's in the Oaks Mall and Sephora in the Oaks Mall, each donated one full skin care consultation and face make over. All About You Hair Care donated a hair style by Yeena as well.
There was more to celebrate. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth, or the "19th of June", recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest. This was the last major vestige of slavery in the United States following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3 by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African American holiday observance.
Juneteenth is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Delaware, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, Nebraska, Kansas and Wisconsin. In 2003, the District of Columbia passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a district holiday observance. Many more states, including Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Montana, and Maryland have recognized Juneteenth through state legislative resolutions and Gubernatorial Proclamations.
Learn more about Juneteenth by watching the Youtube video below and discover books, videos, and websites recommended by the library by clicking on these pdf booklists.
Pictured: Idol contestants with Master of Ceremonies Scherwin Henry Plan: from the left are Karlie Stoe, Chelsey DeGraff and Kia Taylor.
Plan now to join the 2013 Juneteenth Celebration, watch for details.