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Vicksburg Juneteenth Heritage Festival: Celebrating Freedom



vicksburg juneteenth 2024

Vicksburg, Miss – The Vicksburg Juneteenth Heritage Festival Committee will host its Annual Juneteenth Heritage Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2024. The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Halls Ferry Park, located at 130 Halls Ferry Park Road, Vicksburg, Mississippi. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Freedom.”

The Committee is planning an enlightening Festival for the entire family. Both young and old will learn the history of Juneteenth and its importance. Children’s activities will include face painting and games. Mr. Jerry Jenkins, III, will kick off the event with the Drum Call and later lead the storytelling session. Ms. June Hardwick will encourage reflection and enlightenment through libations. For the first time, our 2024 entertainment lineup will feature jazz, with a performance from Epic Funk Brass Band.

A legacy since 1993

Vicksburg’s first Juneteenth Heritage Festival, chaired by Mr. Tillman Whitley, occurred on June 19, 1993, on Monroe Street. Seven years later, on June 24, 2000, Mr. Albert and Mrs. Ezell Matthews McDonald, local business owners focused on African American culture, history, and traditions, spearheaded the second Juneteenth Celebration in Marcus Bottom. After the 2000 festival, Ms. Bobbie Bingham Morrow hosted Juneteenth at various churches and locations in Vicksburg through the First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks In Government.

On June 19, 2020, Ms. Cathy Sanford and Mrs. Gina Hendrickson chaired a Juneteenth Celebration at Vicksburg’s City Park Pavilion. In 2021, Ms. Morrow partnered with Mrs. Ezell McDonald to establish the current Vicksburg Juneteenth Heritage Festival Committee as a not-for-profit organization. This Committee is committed to engaging Vicksburg citizens, business owners, churches, civic and social organizations, artists, and entertainers in an annual celebration. The first celebration of the newly formed Vicksburg Juneteenth Heritage Festival Committee took place on June 19, 2021, at the City Park Pavilion.

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. This law commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth originated as the Civil War ended in 1865. Despite the war’s end, many people remained enslaved, especially in remote areas. Word of slavery’s end traveled slowly. Those isolated from Union armies continued as if freedom did not exist. In Texas, thousands of slaves were unaware of their freedom until June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued an order officially freeing them. Their celebration on June 19, 1865, serves as the basis of Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating emancipation in the United States.

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