11th Annual St. Mary's Juneteenth comes to Freedom Park

On June 19, 1865 Major General Gordon Granger and 1,500 troops of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free. In this day of instant communication it may be hard to believe that President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves had been issued almost two years earlier. Texas was a little slow on the uptake.

That historic occasion is the basis for the annual Juneteenth celebrations all over the country that are increasing in popularity. This year marks the 11th annual Juneteenth celebration in St. Mary’s County. It will be held Saturday June 21 at Freedom Park in Lexington Park from noon to 8 p.m. Everything is free.

Festivities kick off with an opening ceremony that will include the presentation of awards for Pioneers Among Us and Citizen of the Year. Then one of St. Mary’s County’s most active community advocates will be honored. Freedom Park will be dedicated as the Elmer Brown Freedom Park.

With the opening ceremony over, the music and other entertainment will begin, to include Rising Youth Ministry of St. Luke Methodist Church of Piney Point, Mime Ministry Performance with Nikyiah Nichols, Soul in Motion African dancers, Nicole’s Unique Steppers, Zumba instructor Leslie Corbin, the Soulful Journey Band and historian Taylor Pennington.

The day-long entertainment concludes at 6:30 with a concert by featured performer Marcus Johnson. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, “While studying at Georgetown University, Johnson independently released his first jazz album, Lessons in Love, which sold more than 40,000 units. In 1997, he released his second jazz album, Inter Alia. These two independent CDs topped the best-seller charts at Tower Records stores in the Washington, D.C. area. His growing reputation attracted the attention of N2K Encoded Music, now known as N-Coded Music, which signed him and released Chocolate City Groovin’.”

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