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A hot day in mid-June. Music. Food trucks. Vendors selling everything from paintings to Afrocentric clothing and representing various organizations. Kids activities. Political candidates shaking hands and making early requests for votes. Yep. Must have been Juneteenth.

A windy, partly-cloudy June 15 ushered in the 2019 Juneteenth festival, hosted by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center along several blocks of historic Ninth Street in Little Rock. Museum Executive Director Christina Shutt welcomed attendees and Keith Glason of KIPR-FM, "Power" 92.3 served as master of ceremonies for the day's lineup of festivities.

Entertainment included a performance by the Mabelvale Elementary School Drum Line; the St. John Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir and Friends; the Timmons Arts Foundation Children's Choir; and special performances by Grammy-nominated R&B artist Carl Thomas and six-time Stellar Award-winning and Grammy-nominated gospel artist VaShawn Mitchell. The event also included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with four divisions: men's, women's, youth and special abilities; and a Level Up Youth Dance Competition for contestants in two categories: ages 8-13 and 14-19.

In addition, festivalgoers had the chance to get a first peek at the museum's new exhibit, "Finding Freedom in the Forest: Opportunities and Challenges for African Americans in the Timber Industry."

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, dating to 1865 in Galveston, Texas.

Gallery: 2019 Juneteenth festival

High Profile on 06/23/2019

Print Headline: Juneteenth events mark end of slavery in the U.S.

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