What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. Its name is a blend of "June" and "nineteenth" – the date of its celebration. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states.


FLORENCE — Project Say Something is hosting its second annual Juneteenth Celebration from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse.

Organizers say the event is a celebration of the end of slavery and highlights the history leading up to that point and beyond.

The rain date for Saturday's event will be from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Project Say Something Executive Director Camille Bennett said the "family friendly event to heal, to reconcile, and to celebrate" is free to the public.

The event features African drummers, food vendors, music by D.J. We Roc Entertainment, poetry and the unveiling of the first projection art exhibit on the front of the courthouse.

She said she will be projecting black history art onto building surfaces in an exhibit that she expects to evoke a positive, hope-filled reaction from participants.

"We want people to come and be a part of our hands-on display, and be photographed standing for racial justice on our monument pedestal designed and created by local artists Kerrigan Casey and Brandon Stoll." 

Bennett said this year's expanded event is not only taking place in a new venue, but "has a whole different feel with the mission of celebration staying intact."

While last year's event was held at the Handy Recreation Center, this year's has more of a block party-style with Court Street closed between Alabama and College streets to allow for plenty of space.

The program is sponsored in conjunction with the Florence Police Department.

"Our mission is to confront racial injustice through black history by using non-violent communication, education and community empowerment to reconcile the past with the present," she said.

According to Bennett, there's been a strong and positive response to the event on social media, which she said reflects a very diverse group of people.

"It's been really heartwarming to see how we've had interest and excitement over this event from various ages, races and socioeconomic statuses," she said.


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