Members of the Clay County African American Legacy Inc. will host its 11th annual Juneteenth Celebration at the historic Garrison School located at 502 N. Water Street at 4:00 p.m. on June 16th. This year's program, "The Ken Robinson Juneteenth Jazz Scholarship Fundraiser," will benefit minority youth who will be attending college in the fall. Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door.
The program headliner will be a Jazz concert by the Liberty Jazz Ensemble beginning at 4:30 p.m. In addition, there will be performances by Les Washington of Kansas City, Don Thigpen & the Winnwood Praise Band, the First Baptist Instrumental Youth Ensemble among others. Liberty High School Students will be competing for monetary prizes in the Juneteenth Essay contest on Freedom. Winners will read their essays during the event. There will be BBQ chicken wings, hamburgers, and hot dogs for sale from 2:00-6:00 p.m.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed enslaved African Americans January 1, 1863, but many did not find out they were free until 1865 due to the war between the states still raging. Slaves in Texas did not find out they were free until June 19, 1865 and Missouri slaves did not receive their freedom until January 11, 1865. Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas where it is an official holiday, but it is only one of a number of freedom day celebrations held on various dates commemorating the end of slavery across the country.