Juneteenth Celebration: Saturday, June 20

The Alachua County Library District invites the community to celebrate 150 years of freedom and commemorate the end of slavery at the 8th Annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cone Park Branch Library, 2801 E. University Avenue. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, a day or recognition and celebration of the end of African American slavery in the United States. This spirited community event features music, exhibits, food, refreshments and door prizes.

This celebration shares the history of Juneteenth from June 19, 1865, when the news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free finally reached Galveston, Texas. That was two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Annual Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas and slowly spread across the country. In 1980, Texas became the first state to establish Juneteenth as an official state holiday. Currently, 36 states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or day of special observance.

Performing artists include Africa 2000, gospel group Marion Clark and New Vision, the Lavern Porter Dancers, jazz and blues singer Quintina Crawford, jazz musician Lanard Perry, Company of Praise performing old spirituals A Capella style, The Last of the Gunslingers, rap and hip/hop group Fleetwood the Boss and others.

The Cone Park Branch works with its community partners to host the Juneteenth Celebration to foster a better understanding of history and provide families with a fun, educational event. Organizations and groups such as Gainesville Housing Authority, Department of Children and Families, PACE Center for Girls, Healthy Families, Community Action Agency, Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, City of Gainesville/Bicycle-Pedestrian Program, GRACE Marketplace, Waste Management Recycling Program and others will have information available about their programs and opportunities for area youth as well as activities for children. The Library District will sign up kids, teens and adults for its Summer Reading Adventures. All ages are welcome.

For additional information, please visit the Library District’s eBranch at www.aclib.us or contact Nickie Kortus at (352) 334-3909, nkortus@aclib.us.

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