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Lexington plans to recognize Juneteenth-Emancipation Day with a series of events

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and Organizers of Juneteenth Events 06-04-24
Stu Johnson
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and Organizers of Juneteenth Events 06-04-24

A number of activities are scheduled later this month in Lexington to recognize Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day. The 101-year-old Cadentown School served as the backdrop Tuesday to preview several events.

Officially declared a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. The 19th annual Juneteenth Jubilee will be the evening of June 15th at African Cemetery Number two on East Seventh. Yvonne Giles has researched resting places for black Civil War soldiers for years.

“And I always, always, always enjoy this. This is why I exist…to find these other tidbits that no one has uncovered,” said Giles.

Giles said it’s always about expanding the story…not just taking the first information read or listened to. She said the initial finding of 40 Civil War soldier headstones in the cemetery has grown to 154 with a goal of 200.

Lexington Historian Yvonne Giles offering insights following the news conference
Stu Johnson
Lexington Historian Yvonne Giles holding an educational time following the news conference

Another one of the events is a celebration presented by U.S. Freedmen Coalition. Kentucky Director Marvin Young said it will run June 22nd from 11:00 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Charles Young Park.

“We’re begging you all to bring your children, cause the children are our future and we want them to know this holiday, what its significance is here in Kentucky and how we as a nation has grown to observe something that should have been observed a long time ago,” said Young.

A third focus during the Juneteenth observance will be Fayette County's historic black hamlets. “A Sense of Place” will be held at Cadentown Missionary Baptist Church. Lexington Equity and Implementation Officer Tiffany Brown said hamlets were sanctuaries of hope and bastions of self-determination.

Events highlighting the celebration in Lexington include:

· 19th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee, 7-8:30 p.m., June 15, African Cemetery No. 2, 419 East 7th St.: Lexington’s oldest Juneteenth Celebration will again highlight the spirit of freedom, and honor the Civil War soldiers who fought for that freedom.

· Soulteenth Fest, noon-6 p.m., June 15, Moondance Amphitheater, 1152 Monarch St.: Celebrates black liberation and ingenuity through music, art, agriculture, and food.

· Juneteenth Freedom Day, 2-8 p.m., June 16, Douglass Park, 726 Georgetown St.: A community celebration sponsored by Wiseguys Barbershop and the Georgetown Street Neighborhood Area Association to bring awareness to culture, history, equality, and peace through food, music and activities for children.

· “A Sense of Place”, 11 a.m., June 19, Cadentown Missionary Baptist Church, 2950 Cadentown Road: Juneteenth celebration in a historic Black hamlet.

· Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration, doors open 6 p.m., June 19, Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third St.: A celebration of African American independence and artistic expression through live performances including jazz, hip-hop, line-dancing, African drumming, spoken word, rap, violin, stepping, ballet, gospel, acting, and opera.

· Juneteenth Celebration presented by U.S. Freedmen Coalition, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., June 22, Charles Young Park, 215 Midland Ave.: Entertainment, food, information booths, vendors, and community fellowship celebrating black American liberation.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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