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Juneteenth Celebrations begin today in the Ozarks

A graphic for events planned by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks and the NAACP
Source: Community Partnership of the Ozarks / NAACP
A graphic for events planned by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks and the NAACP

A weekend of events will mark Juneteenth in Springfield starting with a concert tonight. Events are also planned in Joplin with additional events planned for next weekend in Springfield.

Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19, commemorating the end of slavery. It was first recognized by the Missouri Legislature as Emancipation Day in 2003. It has been a federal holiday since 2021.

In Springfield the Community Partnership of the Ozarks is partnering with the NAACP for a series of events this weekend. The theme: Restoring Our Village.

The celebration will begin with a concert at the Gillioz tonight featuring Twista, Ying Yang Twins and Paul Wall, tickets are required.

Saturday organizers will host a Community Celebration at the Springfield EXPO Center from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., followed by a screening of The Milly Project Film at the Springfield Art Museum at 6 P.M. The film tells the true story of Springfield’s Milly Sawyers and her fight for freedom from slavery through the court system.

Sunday there will be tours of Silver Springs Park’s programs and projects from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. Silver Springs is home to Timmons Hall, and a part of the African American Heritage Trail. During segregation it was Springfield’s only public park designated for black residents.

At 4 P.M. Sunday afternoon they will also host a Juneteenth Gospel Choir Celebration at the historic Washinton Avenue Baptist Church in Springfield. Find more information on this series of events at

Elsewhere in the Ozarks this weekend, the EastTown Dreams District in Joplin will celebrate Juneteenth in Hope Park. They’ll host a 5k Saturday morning, followed by a day of events including food trucks, Double Dutch performances, an art therapy program and music. They'll host a Father’s Day soul food celebration in the park Sunday afternoon.

Next Saturday, June 22 local social justice non-profit United Community Change will host another Juneteenth celebration in Springfield, with a day of entertainment and events planned from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. at Jordan Valley Park.

Expect public offices, banks and any organization or business typically closed for federal holidays to be closed on the actual date next Wednesday, June 19.