The annual Black Education Historical Exhibit Juneteenth Celebration is set for Friday and Saturday at O’Neal Plaza and other select Douglasville locations to help celebrate the official end of slavery in the U.S. 149 years ago, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The local celebration highlights African-American achievements since the event, in which Union soldiers freed the last-known slaves in the Confederacy in Texas, Douglasville Community Development Manager Patrice Williams said.
It begins with an exclusive reception Friday at O’Neal Plaza, designed to honor sponsors and other guests of the event. Later that evening, a free public jazz concert is also set for O’Neal Plaza.
The celebration continues with a free family festival, beginning Saturday at 11 a.m.
Williams said the festival will include 40 to 45 vendors, plus entertainment, including a special performance by the Rocky Ford Baptist Church choir and trumpeter “Milkshake” Mayfield.
“The entertainment portion of the celebration has always been a big crowd-pleaser,” said Douglasville City Councilman Samuel Davis, who is also board chair of the Juneteenth celebration.
According to Black Education Historical Exhibit board chairman Douglas Smith, the mission of the event is to “tell our story through visual and tangible authentication as it relates to the history of African-Americans in Douglas County. This is done by highlighting African-American education, spirituality, ethics, philanthropy, accomplishments and social evolution,” he said.
“It also offers African Americans the opportunity for self-reflection and inspiration, which promotes community awareness of our heritage,” Smith said. For more information on the Juneteenth Festival, call (678) 449-3094.