"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." ~ James Baldwin
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
P O Box 1752 Paris TX 75461 ~ 903.783.9232 ~ naacp6213@yahoo.com
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Juneteenth - Part 3

Happy Juneteenth everyone! The fun is scheduled to resume today at 3:00 PM in Leon Williams Park in Paris with praise dancers, a talent show, and awards for special fathers and organizations. Here's a look at some other celebrations around the state....

Dreu Knight, 6, and other Miss Juneteenth winners
prepare for the Houston parade.
In Houston, Rev. Vernon Turner, president of the National Emancipation Association, said "This represents a day of freedom. Freedom has no color. We're all freedom fighters." NEA coordinator Dewayne Lark added that this "is a celebration of all cultures. We want them to celebrate with us so our ancestors will know that we appreciate what they did for us."

The Black Cultural Council of Odessa hosted a four-day event including a basketball tournament, line dance workshop, and for the first time a double-dutch jump-rope competition. BCCO President Jo Ann Davenport Littleton said that the event draws over 10,000 people from around the globe. In Corsicana, Tamera White was crowned Miss Juneteenth, while Annell Haney, 82, recalled celebrations in the past that would go on for days with barbecues and church services. Participants in San Antonio's events included Hezekiah Watkins, who was jailed as a Freedom Rider in Mississippi in 1961. 

Member of the Lubbock Forgotten West Riders
Participants around the state endured triple-digit heat for much of the day, and those in Abilene were met with high winds knocking down tents and equipment, and scattering tree limbs. Organizer Robert Lilly and local NAACP President Petty Hunter emphasized the need to view the holiday as a chance to educate all people about victories of the past and hope for the future. Lubbock's Unified Juneteenth Commission put together a three-day event, including a parade featuring over 50 mounted Forgotten West Riders, a tribute to the African American who settled the west. As they passed by throwing candy, spectator Jayden Lee, 6, greeted them with, "Hi, horses."

Austin saw a street party, food, informational booths, and a historical program, as well as a parade with horses, line dancers, and African drums. Even those attending in the line of duty got into the spirit of the day as "in his parked cruiser, a police officer rocked and swayed in his seat to the bass-heavy thump of "Billie Jean"." Also in Austin, Huston-Tillotson communications student Kliphton Joel Taylor wrote for the United Methodist News Service, "I love Juneteenth and everything about it! I've always attended the annual parade in Austin -- just days after my birthday -- and I have a blast! I see and connect with old friends while meeting new ones. I get to see so many different talents, ranging from cool kids on drums to pretty ladies and sometimes masculine men dancing for Jesus and singing and acting."

No Juneteenth celebration would be complete without singing "Lift Ev'ry Voice", so even if you can't make it to the festivities this afternoon, open a can of strawberry soda and listen to the Acapella Choir from Southwestern Christian College in Terrell.

Juneteenth highlights were taken from the Houston Chronicle, Odessa American, Corsicana Daily Sun, San Antonio Express-News, Abilene Reporter-News, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Austin American-Statesman, and United Methodist News Service

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