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Juneteenth: A new federal holiday, East Tennessee set to celebrate

The events come after President Joe Biden officially labeled Juneteenth a national holiday.
Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 10:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 10:53 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission in Knoxville merged its annual luncheon, honoring people who make a difference in the community every day, with a Juneteenth commemoration afternoon at the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. This comes as President Joe Biden signed a bill declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday Thursday.

Rev. William Terry Ladd III spoke to a crowd of more than 100 guests Thursday. The Knoxville native studies and practices Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Nelson Mandela’s principles of peace, unity and freedom.

“We have to close the gaps of inequality,” Ladd said.

The message was centered around “A Legacy of Righteous Purpose, Social Justice, and Racial Equality.” Ladd said.

The event came as President Biden officially labeled Juneteenth a national holiday. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers informed the last group of enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas of the then 2 1/2 year-old Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Southern states.

“It’s necessary to keep on the consciousness of everyone that individuals in this country at one time were enslaved,” said Ladd. “Juneteenth is just a celebration and an acknowledgment of how far we’ve come, but we still have a long way to go.”

The commission and the Beck Cultural Exchange Center invited the public to its Juneteenth Celebration at the World’s Fair Park Festival Lawn at 1:00 p.m. Rev. Daryl Arnold, Overcoming Believers Church is the keynote speaker.

Juneteenth celebrations across East Tenn.

AMC Black Picture Showcase Celebrating Juneteenth

When: Thursday, June 18 – Friday, June 24

Where: Select AMC theatres

Green McAdoo Cultural Center’s Juneteenth Celebration in Clinton

Morning prayer breakfast at 9:40 a.m. at 101 School St. in Clinton, followed by a day of games, live music, food and a movie on the lawn. This event is free and for all ages. Parking will be available at Asbury Church, Mt. Sanai Church and the Clinton football fields.

Mabry Hazen House- Stories of Emancipation

Mabry-Hazen House, 1711 Dandridge Ave., will share stories, objects, and research related to the historic house museum, local enslaved communities, and their stories of emancipation. The museum will open from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and tours will start on the hour (10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.). Admission is free, but tours are limited to 12 visitors per tour. Reservations are encouraged and donations are appreciated. These tours will also be conducted on Saturday, Aug. 7, in commemoration of Eighth of August.

Juneteenth Day of Liberation & Liberation March at Knoxville College

This event takes place on the grounds of Knoxville College from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Enjoy artists, music, food, and guest speakers in this evening celebration. Admission is free at the Knoxville College Dr. campus.

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