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Community Celebrates Sixth Annual Juneteenth

On Saturday, June 20, people made their way to Lexington Park to enjoy a day of free entertainment and community togetherness. 

For the sixth year, St. Mary's County residents and visitors have celebrated Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of the last slaves in 1865.  The United Committee for Afro-American Contributors hosts the event at Freedom Park in the shadows of the African American Monument.

Mary Washington of the SMC Board of Public Schools served as emcee of the opening ceremonies which recognized UCAC's Pioneers of the Past, Dr. James Alexander Forrest, Sr. and Leroy Joseph Thompson, Sr.  Both men made remarkable contributions for racial equality and advancement in St. Mary's County.

Kids were treated to train rides, games and face painting and were entertained by motivational, pro-health rapper, Sterlen Barr a.k.a No Puff Daddy and by comic illusionist and Great Mills grad Reggie Rice a.k.a the Super Magic Man.  Many also enjoyed soft serve ice cream and sno-cones during the shows.

Great performances by smooth Jazz saxophonist Phillip Martin and Jazz singer Shang, both backed by the Cruise Control Band, had the audience on their feet dancing and singing along. Several gospel groups performed including the crowd pleasing Rev. James Flowers, Jr. and Family. Explosive African dancing and drumming by Soul In Motion had the crowds captivated and dancing to the rhythms while enjoying the delicious and inexpensive food.
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UCAC and Juneteenth founder, Elmer Brown recognizes the power of promoting a strong community spirit and said, "There's more education in positive participation." 

His son, UCAC Vice President, Mike Brown has served as the event chairman for the past four years.  Brown said, "My hope is for Juneteenth to be a time of hope, inspiration and motivation."

UCAC is also working on a proposed monument to honor two Civil War Medal of Honor recipients from SMC, as well as the U.S. Colored Troops and Union Soldiers.

More information about this and other great community projects, past and present, is available at http://www.ucaconline.org.


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