Juneteenth Celebration Returns to MTCC

If Juneteenth hasn’t made it into your regular lineup of holiday celebrations, this just might be your year to change that.

Originating in Texas, this holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. With a focus on education, freedom and forward thinking, the day has changed a bit since the original African American Emancipation Day was first celebrated in 1865, but the heart and message remains the same.

To celebrate Juneteenth, especially now that it’s an official federal holiday, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is once again hosting its free “Juneteenth in da Rock” festival on Saturday, June 17, with more space and more events in store. At the block party on Ninth Street, attendees will find food trucks, activities for the kids, vendor booths, educational opportunities and more, as well as a day full of live music.

Earlier that morning, the second annual Juneteenth 5K walk/run will hit the pavement on a route designed to highlight some of Little Rock’s Black historical sites like Little Rock Central High School, the home of Judge Mifflin Gibb, Arkansas Baptist College and Philander Smith College. It starts at 7 a.m. More on that here.

Ahead of Saturday’s festival, MTCC will host a Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony and brunch on Thursday, June 15, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

MTCC is also encouraging locals to take part in affiliate events throughout the month, including film screenings, concerts, yoga and events specifically designed for kids. These new partnerships “will celebrate the rich traditions of Black Arkansans, showcase local artists and artisans and commemorate the federal holiday in Arkansas.”

“Juneteenth is more than just a celebration with music and food, it’s the very foundation of the story and history of our people in America,” says Quantia Fletcher, director of the MTCC. “Juneteenth is a time to pay homage to our ancestors, recognize the past and share programming and education opportunities about the experiences of Black Americans.”

For more information on Juneteenth in da Rock, visiti the MTCC website, and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest.

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