Springfield celebrates Juneteenth by honoring Black history
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The annual Juneteenth Celebration presented by the NAACP Springfield chapter will take place on June 19 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Silver Springs Park on 1100 N. Hampton Ave.
Christine Peoples, the Timmons Hall Education Coordinator and an Outreach Minister said Juneteenth is important because it sheds light on Black history.
“It’s a celebration of freedom,” Peoples said. “It happened a year and a half after the Emancipation Proclamation because the president did not have the soldiers to enforce what he had put into law.”
Peoples said Fredrick Douglas told the president he was fighting a battle with one hand tied behind his back because he was not using Black troops. She said that prompted the president to add African American soldiers to the fight.
“African Americans were a huge part of why the war was won,” Peoples said.
Peoples said in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, it was declared Juneteenth because that’s when freedom finally came to Galveston. She said that once freedom was declared, ads were immediately put in papers because African Americans were trying to find loved ones.
“It’s a bittersweet situation if you think about being separated from your family. Punishment would be that,” Peoples said.
Peoples elaborated that Black people were considered property for so long, but the newfound freedom made African Americans finally feel like human beings.
“Today, we can change the narrative,” Peoples said.
Peoples said one way to help change the narrative is through the community. She said the Springfield community coming together on Saturday will be a reminder of that.
Peoples also said community members made affirmation signs ahead of the celebration on Saturday.
“I’m very proud of the affirmation signs because the affirmations value human lives that in spite of unjust laws, they were making it happen,” Peoples said.
She said Saturday will celebrate those lives that made a difference so African American s now can enjoy their rights as citizens.
Kaijuanda Sutton, the NAACP Springfield Chapter President, said she is excited the event will highlight Black members of the Springfield community.
“We’re going to acknowledge local Black-owned businesses, community advocates, and we’re going to celebrate local Black excellence,” Sutton said.
Sutton said the NAACP will celebrate Black excellence by honoring ten community members who have made a significant impact.
Sutton said Saturday. They will have a plethora of entertainers, vendors, and live bands at the event for the community to enjoy. The NAACP will also be collecting donations of feminine hygiene products and new bookbags for SPS students.
They will also be honoring late Springfield City Council Member Denny Wayne on Saturday.
The event is co-sponsored by the NAACP, The Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Timmons Hall, Commerce Bank, Burrell Behavioral Health, Springfield Police Department, Kwanzaa Alliance of Southwest Missouri, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Peoples Meet and Greet Marketing, Springfield-Greene County Library District, Brentwood Christian Church, Turning Point Church, and National Avenue Christian Church.
Peoples and Sutton said anyone is welcome to attend on Saturday, and you can RSVP on their Facebook page.
The NAACP, United Community Change, and Plotline also have a Juneteenth Walk & Run Fundraiser at Jordan Valley Park. That race will merge with this event at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. If you would like to register for the race, click here.
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