Juneteenth celebrations planned throughout Ark-La-Tex

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ARK-LA-TEX, USA (KTAL/KMSS/KSHV) – A number of activities have been planned throughout the Ark-La-Tex to commemorate Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of ending slavery in the United States.

In its 2021 session, both houses in the Louisiana Legislature voted unanimously to make Juneteenth a state holiday, and last week, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law. It will take effect in 2022.

Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, June 19, 1865 was the day Union Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and got the word out to around 250,000 Texan slaves that they were free.  

Although it took until December 1865 for the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution to officially abolish “chattel slavery” nationwide, June 19th was the day the slaves in the furthermost state learned there was hope.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. holiday. The bill, first introduced by Texas Sen. John Cronin in 2020 but was blocked by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who claimed a day off for federal employees would cost too much money.

But he dropped his objection this week, clearing the way for the bill’s passage.

Here are some of the events planned around the Ark-La-Tex for Saturday:

TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS

  • 10 a.m.
  • “Parade of the Year”
  • Juneteenth Parade on Front Street
  • Downtown Texarkana
  • Sponsored by Ayden Howard and the Scholars
  • Cash prize for favorite float
  • Noon – 7 p.m.
  • Keeping History Alive Juneteenth Celebration
  • Front Street, Downtown Texarkana
  • A family-oriented event celebrating African history, culture and heritage that will include food/craft vendors, political speakers, social-rights activists
  • 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Spades and Domino Tournament, Live Bands/Local performances, Parade of Professionals, Video Game Truck and Bouncy Houses.

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA

  • 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Art-ish: We Round the Corner Black Art Show
  • The Lot Downtown Shreveport
  • 400 Crockett St.
  • It’s time to celebrate Black Artistry right here in Shreveport. Black Culture. Black Art. Black History. Let’s vibe, eat, drink & support Dope Black Art! Featuring live music, libations, and food.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • SPAR’S Juneteenth Unity Basketball Tournament
  • Valencia Park
  • 1800 Viking Drive
  • Free youth and adult basketball competition, games, music by 3 Feet and more. Bring lawn chairs and see who will be crowned the winner of the Juneteenth 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
  • 1-6 p.m.
  • A Juneteenth Celebration and Art Show by Bertha Harris
  • 624 Commerce Street
  • Event by Bertha Harris Folk Art Gallery and Hugh Hamilton
  • Amazing and inspirational art show celebrating Juneteenth, food and vendors.
  • 2-7 p.m.
  • Hold your Crown Juneteenth Celebration
  • 331 Milam Street
  • A family-oriented event, Juneteenth Freedom Festival, honoring our heritage and our many accomplishments. Bring the whole family out to shop with vendors and support our local small businesses. Enjoy music, game activities, great food, and a lot of fun.
  • 1-6 p.m.
  • The Juneteenth Celebration and Art Show by Bertha Harris
  • 624 Commerce Street
  • The Juneteenth Celebration and Art Show will be held at the Performance Art Gallery in Shreveport Admission is free.
  • The Juneteenth Celebration and Art Show will feature art by Bertha Harris, vendors, food, and more. Admission is free.
  • 7-9 p.m.
  • Artipsy Vibes Juneteenth Celebration
  • Artipsy Wine and Arts Bar
  • 450 Clyde Fant Parkway, Suite 600
  • Celebrate Freedom with DJ Meg Marly

BOSSIER CITY, LOUISIANA

  • 12 p.m. & 2 p.m.
  • Lumpy Grits Artistry Elektra Afro Greek Short Film
  • East Bank Theatre
  • 630 Barksdale Blvd.
  • Bossier City, LA
  • Elektra is a Greek legend written by the ancient playwright Sophocles. She is the daughter of Agamemnon and Klytemnestra, who saved the life of her young brother Orestes by sending him away when their father was murdered. When he later returns, she helps him to restore order to the throne. This is a classic twist between Cinderella and Hamlet. The cast consists of youth and adults from the Shreveport area.

JEFFERSON, TEXAS

  • 3 p.m.
  • Juneteenth Parade and Celebration
  • The parade will start at Jefferson High School and continue down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Watson Street and then over to the Community Center.
  • Participants in the parade include several different trail rider groups, ATV groups, social clubs, motorcycle clubs, churches, the Marion County beauty queens, a semi-pro basketball team and a number of black-owned businesses.

MARSHALL TEXAS

  • 8 a.m.
  • “Freedom Run/Walk”
  • Harrison County Courthouse
  • Sponsored by Peace and Joy Art Gallery, the event challenges participants of all ages to walk/run around the Harrison County Courthouse 19 times to symbolize June 19, 1865, when Texas slaves learned they were free.
  • 10 a.m.
  • Marshall Juneteenth Parade
  • The parade route will begin at the historical courthouse, continue down West Houston Street, take a left on College Street, curve into South Carter Street and then take a right on Spring Street, leading into Smith Park.
  • 11 a.m.
  • Marshall Juneteenth Commemoration Program
  • The Rev. Joe Hamilton will serve as moderator, Leo Smith, grandson of George Smith Jr., after whom Smith Park is named, will give the keynote address, and Shreveport archivist Raegan Sterns will reveal a collection of Marshall native Charles Washington’s photography.
  • The day’s festivities will include kickball and domino tournaments, old school and gospel music, line dances, ‘Arts in the Park,’ a fashion show, a play and ongoing children’s games and activities throughout the day.

TEXARKANA, TEXAS

  • 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Texarkana Farmers Market Juneteenth Celebration
  • 305 Texas Blvd.
  • Join us as we all celebrate the Juneteenth celebration at the Texarkana Farmers’ Market. Lifeshare Blood Drive will be at this special night market. Open-Air Seasonal Farmers’ Market in Downtown.

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