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Juneteenth celebrations throughout the Southland

Leah Clouden | 6/13/2013, midnight

Juneteenth is a worldwide African American celebration commemorating the date (June 19) in 1865 when many slaves in Texas learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863), two and a half years after President Lincoln issued the document. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

The celebration began in Galveston, Texas, as African American Emancipation Day and has spread internationally to countries such as Japan and South Korea.

According to the website www.juneteenth.com, at the beginning Juneteenth celebrations were a time African Americans reassured each other, prayed and gathered remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage to Galveston on this date.

In contemporary times, there has been an effort to turn the day into an official national recognition.

Carson

The city of Carson and the Carson Cultural Arts Foundation hosts its Juneteenth Rhythm and Blues celebration June 15 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Mills Park, 1340 Dimondale Drive. The free event will feature Texas Blues guitarist Guitar Shorty as the main headliner. Others scheduled to perform include G Mack & the Polyester Players, Sophisticated Dance Inc., Blackqsax, Karen Evans, Avalon and Judson Baptist Church Mass Choir. For info: (310) 631-3130.

Littlerock

Robinson Park in Littlerock, will host a celebration June 14, 15 and 16 featuring a drill team competition, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, entertainment by local talent, arts and craft and food booths, carnival games, raffles and more from 5-8 p.m. at the park, 8773 East Avenue R. The event is free. For additional information, contact Peg Lee at jrpark2@juno.com or (661) 944-2880.

The Friends of Jackie Robinson Park hosts the third annual Miss Juneteenth Sun Village Pageant June 15 at Jackie Robinson Park, 8773 East Ave. R, Sun Village, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Participating age brackets range from 6 months to 18 years old. For more info: (661) 480-MISS.

Los Angeles

Leimert Park Black Arts Los Angeles Juneteenth Cultural Festival will feature activities in two locations at the park and on the Vision Theater back lot at 43rd Street and Degnan Boulevard. On Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. -6 p.m. a special ribbon-tying ceremony will be held in the park and represents the first Peace Pole installation in South Los Angeles in the 50-year history of the Peace Pole Project. The Juneteenth flag will also be introduced. Attendees can also ride horses, enjoy riding and roping tricks by 17-year-old Juan Caldera and the Cowboys of Color. The Urban Tech Fair will feature a computer-code and an app-building workshop, computer-based flight simulators courtesy of Robin Petgrave’s Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum. And folks who want to get up and move a little can join Vanessa Bailey, the Nubian Boot Scooters and Guys and Dolls for a little two-steppin’.

On Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. there will be Gospel music and praise dancing from the Deyempart Dancers. Vocalist Hishaam debuts his new single “Freedom.”