While President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, it took more than two years for the news to reach more than 250,000 slaves in the country’s remotest state at the time, Texas.
Juneteenth, which is Monday, June 19 and is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, started as an annual celebration in Galveston, Texas but communities across the country have adopted the anniversary as a day to commemorate the end of slavery.
Here are a few ways the Coast and surrounding areas will celebrate freedom this year.
Wednesday, June 14
Juneteenth, Father’s Day and Flag Day luncheon
The Mississippi Coast Military Officers Association will celebrate all three holidays at a luncheon on Wednesday, June 14, at 11 a.m.
Friday, June 16
3 on 3 basketball tournament
The City of Biloxi and the Movers and Shakers Social Club will have a free 3 on 3 basketball tournament at John Henry Beck Park’s basketball courts, 671 Division St. The single elimination event is open to ages 14-18. Teams must have three players, five players max, No coach is necessary. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. There will be cash prices for first place and second place teams. The tournament will be open to a limited number of teams and sign-up has started. For more information, call E.J. Bell at 228-365-5714.
Concert: Eklektik Experience
Eklektik Experience will perform June 16 at the Ground Zero Blues Club, 814 Howard Ave., Biloxi. Showtime is at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at groundzerobiloxi.com.
Black Excellence Celebration
The Gulfport City-Wide Juneteenth Celebration Committee will celebrate the holiday on Friday, June 16, from 6:19 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Isaiah Fredricks Community Center, 3312 Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. The event will include the Oratorical Scholarship Contest and the Jamii Awards presentation. Semi Formal attire is preferred. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased on eventbrite or by emailing Terri Tyler at email@example.com.
Concert: Anais St. John
Bay St. Louis
The 100 Men Hall, 303 Union St., Bay St. Louis, will have a tribute concert of Donna Summer featuring Anais St. John at 7 p.m. Food from Big Boyz BBQ will be available for purchase. Tickets are $20 in advance.
Saturday, June 17
Freedom parade and festival
The Gulfport City-Wide Juneteenth Celebration Committee will have a freedom celebration, which includes a freedom parade at 11:19 a.m. and festival at 12:19 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. The family-friendly event will be at the Isaiah Fredricks Community Center, 3312 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Gulfport.
Brunch and Celebration
The Randolph Center, 315 Clark St., Pass Christian, will celebrate the holiday with brunch and entertainment. The brunch will honor local community activists. The event starts at 10 a.m. and tickets are $35. The celebration will be from noon to 5 p.m. with food, music and music by DJ Mixx Maestro.
Bay St. Louis
The 100 Men Hall, 303 Union St., Bay St. Louis, will hold a 10-hour dance marathon featuring four DJs. The event will start at 1 p.m. and have food from Beachside’s available for purchase.
Celebration of Freedom
A celebration will be held at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Herlihy St. at 3 p.m.
The free family-friendly event will be at JP Johnson Park, 403 Rosa St., Picayune, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Family bike ride
The All Occasion Truck Club will have a family bicycle ride from Leola Jordan Park to JP Johnson Park. Line up starts at 9 a.m. For more information call Carl Woodson at 601-273-1341 or Eddie Porter at 601-916-7094.
The City of Biloxi and the Movers and Shakers Social Club will have a unity walk/run. Walk-up registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the run will be at 9 a.m. The route is two laps from John Henry Beck Park to O’Reily Park. The first 100 registered will receive a tshirt.
A celebration featuring a children’s area, vendor booths and food booths will be held at Biloxi Town Green, 710 Beach Blvd., from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Live entertainment from Unfazed Band will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Concert: Jamell Richardson
Ground Zero Blues Club, 814 Howard Ave., Biloxi, will welcome back “The Gulf Coast Blues Boy,” Jamell Richardson as part of their celebration of Juneteenth. Tickets are on sale now and the show starts at 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 18
Family Day Picnic
The City of Biloxi and the Movers and Shakers Social Club will have a family picnic at John Henry Beck Park, 671 Division St., from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Parks and Recreation at 228-388-7170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay St. Louis
The 100 Men Hall, 303 Union St., Bay St. Louis,
Monday, June 19
Family Fun Day
A Juneteenth Family Fun Day will be held at the Mississippi Aquarium, 2100 E. Beach Blvd., Gulfport, at 1 p.m. The event includes live music, an African fashion show, readings of African American Folktales, art, food trucks and vendors. The outdoor event is free, but entry into the aquarium will be at a specially discounted price.
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art will offer free admission in honor of Juneteenth.
Celebration with Restoration Tribe
Twin Forks Rising Community Development Corporation will have a free celebration on June 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Twin Forks Rising, 601 E. Pine St., Hattiesburg.
To include your Juneteenth event, contact the Sun Herald at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mona Moore is the Service Journalism Desk Editor for the (Biloxi) Sun Herald, (Columbus) Ledger-Enquirer and (Macon) Telegraph. Originally from West Covina, California, she holds a bachelor’s and master’s in corporate and public communication from the University of South Alabama. Mona’s writing and photography have been recognized by press associations in Mississippi, North Carolina and Florida. She is on a mission to complete 50 fun adventures before her birthday in October and would welcome any suggestions to add to her list.