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The Commonwealth

Juneteenth activities are planned throughout Lexington this weekend

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Whit Whitaker speaking at a press conference about upcoming Juneteenth activities

This weekend will see holiday festivities across Lexington. The city is preparing for Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday. June 19th is recognized as the day in 1865 when U.S. soldiers arrived in Galveston Texas with news the Civil War has ended, and all enslaved people were now free. Mark Coyne is the chairman of African cemetery number 2 in Lexington. He said Lexington has a special connection to Juneteenth.

“Lexington actually pulls its weight a lot more than the rest of country as far as Juneteenth goes. In one cemetery, we have Gordon Granger who announced it and in African cemetery no. 2, we have one of the individuals who was actually at the announcement of Juneteenth,” Coyne said.

The Juneteenth Jubilee will take place Saturday at African Cemetery No. 2 and starts at 7 P.M. and will wrap up around 8:30pm.

Sunday evening, Whit Whitaker, executive director of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center said they will be hosting a literary event.

“They’re celebrating Blackness and celebrating the Black presence of people in Affrilachia. Oftentimes when they talk about the Affrilachian/Appalachian area, we forget we have African Americans there who have settled there and are part of the culture and they often get left out.”

The keynote speakers at Sunday’s event at the Lyric Theatre will be Francis X Walker and Crystal Wilkinson, Kentucky’s former and current poet laureate. The Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration starts Sunday evening at 7 P.M. at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington.

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