Sewickley's third annual Juneteenth celebration will bring history to life.
An interactive discussion with Abraham Lincoln, a spoken word concert, and a re-enactment reading of the Emancipation Proclamation are just some of the lively activities planned for Saturday, June 23 at the Sewickley Community Center.
The free event kicks off at 9 a.m. with live art by Sewickley artist Blake Irwin and a pancake breakfast.
Autumn Redcross, event chairwoman, said people from all cultural backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to attend the family-oriented celebration.
"I want to get the message out that it’s not just a black event," Redcross said. "It’s not just about African-Americans, but about all Americans. This is an invitation to the community to come together for a dynamic event based on a historic day when a people learned they were free."
Juneteenth (on June 19) is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers in Texas announced the abolition of slavery 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, according to Juneteenth.com.
Music, food, history and revelry are all a part of the daylong celebration, also known as Freedom Day.
“It’s historic and it’s an American holiday,” Redcross said.
One of the event's highlights is the 10 a.m. panel discussion on "The Help," a book by author Kathyrn Stockett that became a highly-acclaimed movie.
Panelists include D. Raja, candidate for State Senate; Peter Sour, recent board member Sewickley Valley Historical Society; Lee Berry, domestic business owner; Terry Bradford, Daniel B. Matthews Historical Society; artist and educator Elizabeth Asche Douglas; and rising Quaker Valley High School graduate Stevie Bronaugh.
Jonelle Henry, C-Span associate producer, will serve as the moderator.
The Sewickley Juneteenth event sparked from an idea for a panel discussion on the same day as the center’s community day, which offers a free swim.
Schedule of Events
9 a.m. Live Art with Blake Irwin
9 a.m. Pancake Breakfast Begins
10 a.m. Panel Discussion on "The Help"
Noon Vendors open for Business
12:30 p.m. Sewickley Community Center Pool Opens--Free Swim
1 p.m. Commencement Ceremony and Re-enactment Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
2 p.m. Gospel Song and Dance - Betty Asche Douglas, Marianne Pratt, On Common Ground, Tri-Stone Baptist, and Coraopolis Church of God and Christ
4 p.m. Soul Line Dancing with Roland Ford
Legion History Room
1:30 p.m. Interactive Discussion with Thadeus Stevens, Martin Delaney and Abraham Lincoln
2:15 p.m. "The Real Heroes" Tuskegee Airmen tribute by Regis Bobonis
SCC Community Room
2:30 p.m. Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Talk
3:30 Food Pantry Garden Presentation
SCC Garden Theater
2:45 p.m. Qigong
3:45 p.m. "Soul in my Story; the Story in my Soul" guided writing led by Jean Zell
4:45 p.m. Guided Drumming Circle
5:30 p.m. All Ages Kick Ball
6:30 p.m. Spoken Word Concert and Open Mic
7:30 p.m. Sewickley Families Reunion