The City of Newberry is excited to announce that the first annual Newberry Juneteenth is set for Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 10 am to 3 pm in Downtown Newberry. The event states, “ All are welcome to Celebrate Freedom at the Newberry Juneteenth. Learn the history, share the stories, taste the food, hear the music, and see the talent of our community.”
According to Britannica, Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, is a holiday celebrated on the 19th of June to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, enslaved people were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.
Following the request of councilwoman Jackie Holmes, with support of the Newberry City Council, the City of Newberry’s Parks, Recreation, and Tourism department has been working with a committee of seven local citizens to bring the vision of Juneteenth in Newberry to life. “Key to this year’s festivities is the history display, to be located in the Newberry Opera House lobby,” says Mary Alex Kopp, City of Newberry Tourism and Events Manager, who is acting as the logistics manager of the festival, “The committee recognizes that for many of our citizenry this will be their first experience with a Juneteenth event, so it is important that we fully explain the history of this freedom day in our American history. We are grateful for the opportunity the committee has brought to us to bring their vision of the festival to life, and grateful for our partnership with the Newberry Museum to curate the history display.”
In addition to the history display the festival will feature an entertainment stage, food court, vendors, children’s activities, and artworks that highlight the talent of Newberry’s Black owned businesses. The committee says they wish to see all of Newberry come out to the festival to celebrate a day that marks the end of a bleak chapter of American history, and the dawn of a new era of freedom.
The committee is also excited to reveal the official logo for the event, designed by La Ruchala A. Murphy. Murphy is the Executive Director of the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, has over 15 years of experience in the arts sector, and recently served as guest curator for the Lyndon House Arts Center’s exhibition #NotAStereotype. Murphy is a visual artist herself, having graduated from Winthrop University with a BA in studio art and master’s in arts administration. She also has a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from the University of Louisiana-Shreveport. Murphy holds connections to the Newberry community and was thrilled to have her artwork selected as the official logo for the Newberry Juneteenth festival.