Saturday, the Lebanon County Branch 26AA NAACP hosted its third annual Juneteenth celebration in Lebanon’s Monument Park.

Juneteenth, or Juneteenth National Independence Day, is a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. It became a federally recognized holiday in 2021.

Several tents were set up at the celebration with food and information.

While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, Union troops only arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to free Black people in the state on June 19, 1865.

This year’s celebration in Lebanon lasted from 1 to 5 p.m. and included an opening ceremony and several other activities, including Zumba, yoga, an African drumming workshop, and an African dance workshop.

Mr. Richard provided a spoken word poem and African drumming during the opening of the Juneteenth celebration.

During the opening ceremony, the NAACP presented local student Amaya Rodriguez with its annual 2023 Diversity Scholarship.

Read More: Amaya Rodriguez awarded $1,000 scholarship by Lebanon County NAACP

Amaya Rodriguez is presented with the $1,000 2023 Diversity Scholarship.

For the first year, the NAACP also set up posts circling the park, dating every 10 years from 1620 to the present.

Branch 26AA secretary and founding organizing committee member Michael Schroeder walked the length of the posts, describing the historical events concerning slavery and Black rights that occurred in each decade.

Michael Schroeder described the history of Black rights in the U.S. The red on the stakes symbolized years that Black people were still enslaved in the United States.

Schroeder described events from the first enslaved Africans arriving in North America to more recent occurrences like the murder of George Floyd.

Lebanon County NAACP Branch 26AA was formed in 2020 and became an official branch in February 2021. As of the start of the year, the organization had 96 members and four committees.

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

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Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


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