On June 15, the Lebanon County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will host its fourth annual Juneteenth and Freedom Day Celebration in Monument Park, Lebanon.

The free event will run from noon to 5 p.m. at 8th and Lehman streets and will feature a number of activities and performances, including music, food, games, vendors, and a special performance by the York Temple Guard Drill Team. Children will be able to participate in a Walk through Black History presentation, and there will be a presentation to the winner of the branch’s 2024 Diversity Scholarship.

In case of bad weather, the event will be moved to St. Mark’s United Church of Christ at 426 N. 8th St., across the street from Monument Park.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday since 2021 that commemorates the end of racialized slavery in the United States. The day, which has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s, is intended to reflect on the history of slavery in this country and recommit to the fight for equality and justice for all African Americans.

Its name, which combines “June” and “19th,” marks June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform slaves that the war had ended and they were free.

“Freedom is the birthright of all Americans, and for that reason we are delighted to extend a warm invitation to everyone in the Lebanon Valley and beyond who believes in the foundational ideals of our beloved Republic – political equality, equal justice under law, accountable government, and all the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote and the right to be free and determine your own destiny – to join us on this very special day to help us celebrate that birthright of freedom,” Pastor Tony Fields, president of the Lebanon County NAACP, said in a release.

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