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The Smith Center Hosts Juneteenth Celebration

The 12th annual Juneteenth celebration took place yesterday in the beautiful Symphoney Park at The Smith Center.  The celebration emphasizes contributions by Africans in education, commerce, art, health and wellness in American culture. The free event brought fans of food, music, entertainment, and art. Some of the musical acts included soul singer Phil Flowers; In-A-Fect;  Next Movement; and local favorite VanBuren who kept the crowd energized. Soul food vendors lined up on the street parallel to Symphony Park as did hungry attendees.

The celebration pays tribute to the historic date that brought freedom to our African American ancestors. On June 19, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger rode to Galveston Texas to deliver the glorious news that American Slaves were free. The message brought on days of celebration for American people. General Order No. 3 was the decree that afforded all Americans freedom which reads,

“The people are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, become that between employer and hired labor.”

One exhibitor that caught my eye was artist Charles Bibbs. Bibbs is a well known artist born in San Pedro California and is known for his works of art. His works are meant to preserve the African and African American cultures. His paintings are inspired through a creative process from spirituality and determination of empowerment for African American communities. He also founded Images Magazine, the first publication for contemporary African American art.

If you couldn’t make this years event try next year. This years’ celebration brings promise to next years’ event for another fulfilling evening of  art, music, food, and family.

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