The Lebanon County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is set to host its third annual Juneteenth/Freedom Day celebration on Saturday, June 17, in Monument Park, located at 8th St. and Lehman St.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and will feature a mix of music, food, spoken word performances, African dance and drumming workshops, games, and family yoga.

In the event of inclement weather, the festivities will move across the street to St. Mark’s United Church of Christ, situated at 426 N. 8th St.

Juneteenth, recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, marks the end of slavery in the U.S. The holiday, celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s, receives its name from a blend of “June” and “19.” It is also known as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day,” and “Emancipation Day.”

The date commemorates June 19, 1865, when, more than two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. He informed enslaved African Americans that the war had ended and they were free, putting into effect the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

“Freedom is the birthright of all Americans,” said Pastor Tony Fields, president of the Lebanon County NAACP. He extended an invitation to all who believe in the foundational ideals of the Republic, including political equality, equal justice under law, accountable government, and all the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote and the right to freedom.

The Lebanon County community and those beyond are encouraged to join the celebration of this significant day in history.

The Lebanon County branch of the NAACP received national recognition in 2021 to become an active and independent branch of the largest and most prominent civil rights organization in the United States.

Read More: Lebanon County NAACP chapter earns national standing as fully fledged branch

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