By Cheril Vernon
Messenger Copy Editor
CROCKETT – Juneteenth festivities, including a parade and other celebrations, are planned for Saturday and Monday in Crockett.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, June 17, the Mary Allen Museum of African American Art & History will celebrate Juneteenth with a book review panel for the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Warmth of Other Sons” by author Isabel Wilkerson.
“It’s a book that was written of black migration from the South to the North and the different families that made that exodus,” Mary Allen Museum Board President Jesselyn Reese told The Messenger Monday. “This will be a great history lesson and discussion that is a reflection of Juneteenth. I invite everyone to come learn more about our history.”
The book review panel will include author and poet Vivian Grant, Crockett High School English teacher Alisha Bailey, and Friendship Baptist Church pastor, the Rev. Harold Todd.
Moderator will be Mary Allen Museum board member Loria Ewing, Ph. D.
The event will be held at the Mary Allen Heritage House, located at 1503 South 4th St. in Crockett.
In addition, Chicago-based artist and writer Viktor Le. Givens will perform an improvisational reading from his recently published book of folklore and mythology, “MO’LASSES.”
Special guests will be Miss Juneteenth 2017 and Mary Allen College alumnus from the Class of 1947.
An ice cream social will follow.
At 10 a.m. Monday, June 19, the 32nd Annual Juneteenth Parade will kick off on the Crockett square. Grand marshal will be Deacon Gerald Colter of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
According to Juneteenth organizer Dr. Ianthia Fisher, the parade will follow the regular Juneteenth parade route around the square, down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, circle around one of the housing complexes and end at the Groves Foundation Center.
“We traditionally have our Juneteenth parade on the nineteenth, but it does make it more challenging because not everyone is off of work on Monday,” Fisher told The Messenger Tuesday. “We hope everybody that can will participate or come watch the parade.”
The parade will including the Juneteenth pageant contestants, the Women of Wisdom, floats, fire trucks, local businesses, churches, organizations and horse riders.
A Juneteenth program will follow the parade at 11 a.m. at the center.
“We will introduce the Juneteenth pageant contestants and do a few community recognitions and celebrate Juneteenth,” Fisher said. “It’s a good time to celebrate what Juneteenth represents, that slavery existed no more, even though it took us two years to find out. It’s also an opportunity to recognize all of our citizenry and the contributions that they have made. Come out and meet and support the members of the community, the culture diversity and have a good time with family, fellowship and friendship.”
Some food booths will be available at the event.
This Monday, June 19 will mark the 152nd anniversary of Juneteenth. On June 19, 1865, the word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the state of Texas. It was nearly two and a half years after the U.S. abolishment of slavery in 1863, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation from a balcony in Galveston and African Americans in Texas were finally freed. Since then, the date has become an international day of celebration and was officially declared a state holiday in 1980.