Saturday, June 19, is Juneteenth, and it’s now a national holiday. The National Museum of African American History and Culture calls the annual event a celebration of resilience—a time to “gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future.”
Juneteenth marks the day, June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, told the enslaved African Americans they were free and that the Civil War had ended. It’s been celebrated for more than 150 years, according to the museum.
There are several Juneteenth events in Springfield. A celebration will be held Friday afternoon, June 18, from 1:30 to 3 in the Plaster Student Union Theatre at Missouri State University. The community gospel choir, led by Robert Gibson, will perform. And Dr. Lyle Foster will discuss the significance of Juneteenth; the traditions, songs and symbols surrounding the celebration, and he’ll talk about the Springfield NAACP Chapter’s celebration set for Saturday, June 19. That event starts at noon and will feature live entertainment, community booths and giveaways. Items for the community’s homeless population will be collected such as socks, sunscreen and tarps.
United Community Change will hold a Juneteenth Freedom Walk in downtown Springfield followed by a celebration at Washington Park.
And the History Museum on the Square will present “Struggle for Statehood,” an African American Heritage Presentation at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Fox Theatre. Registration is required.