The Eddie Mae Herron Center in Pocahontas will host the 3rd annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 16. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a celebration that commemorates the abolition of slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation. The facility is an education center and museum that preserves nearly two centuries of African-American history in Pocahontas and Randolph County.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston to announce and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Emancipation became official on January 1, 1863, but for reasons that remain mysterious, Texas was excluded. General Granger’s announcement was met with a celebration that would come to be known as Juneteenth. Now, over 40 states celebrate Juneteenth as a state holiday or a state holiday observance.
Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. on June 16, featuring remarks by Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, Associate Professor of History at ASU-Jonesboro. Events will continue through the day, concluding at dusk. Scheduled events include a field trip to the Rice-Upshaw House and Looney Tavern and a presentation on African American one-room schools. Ladies are invited to bring their best Sunday hat and participate in the Sunday hat contest. There will also be children’s games and prizes, a horseshoe tournament, free throw contest and more. Musical entertainment will be provided by the St. Louis Metro Singers and a local group, Empty Pockets.
The event is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and umbrellas for shade. Anyone interested in setting up a display, exhibit or vendor booth should contact the Center at 870-892-4433. The Eddie Mae Herron Center is located at 1708 Archer St.