150th Anniversary Events
To Include Portrayals, Music,
Friday Night Dance
The George Clem Multicultural Alliance (GCMA) will be hosting the 150th anniversary of Greeneville's 8th of August Emancipation Day Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 3.
A full slate of events on Saturday will follow a street dance on Davis Street the preceding night.
The Saturday, Aug. 3, event will be from noon to 11 p.m. at the John J. Jones Memorial Park, located in front of the George Clem Operations Center on Floral Street.
On Aug. 8, 1863, Andrew Johnson, who was then serving as military governor of Tennessee, freed his personal slaves.
That date has been celebrated ever since in Greeneville, and in several other states, by members of the African-American community.
The local Aug. 8 celebrations have been described through the years as "It's like one, big community 'family reunion' memorializing and honoring a day that is so historically significant to the beginning of African-American freedom in Tennessee."
The date was officially recognized across the State of Tennessee as "Emancipation Day" with the passage of state legislation in 2007.
According to a GCMA news release, the opening ceremony on Aug. 3 will begin at noon, followed by numerous stage presentations, speakers, and musical entertainment throughout the afternoon and evening, along with lots of fun-filled activities for the kids such as games, train rides, and inflatables.
There will be plenty of vendors selling a variety of foods, crafts, and other merchandise, the news release said.
The afternoon entertainment, hosted by popular local radio personality Woody J, will include several activities pertaining to and commemorating the historic 8th of August date 150 years ago.
Among these activities, the release said, will be stirring portrayals by local presenters of both President Abraham Lincoln (by Chris Small) and the then-Military Governor of Tennessee Andrew Johnson (by Daniel Luther), as well as "A Visit with a Buffalo Soldier," portrayed by historian Bill Valentine.
There will also be a health presentation by the Diabetes Committee, consisting of representatives from Laughlin Memorial Hospital, Takoma Regional Hospital, the Greene County Health Department and others.
Late-afternoon festivities will continue with the presentation of GCMA's "The Dream Made Real" scholarships to the 2013 recipients.
There will also be performances by praise dance teams from local area churches, as well as open-mic opportunities.
The afternoon's entertainment will conclude with a free Zumba® class led by certified dance instructor Leanna Lawson of Studio Nine22 in Greeneville.
Early-evening music festivities, the news release said, "will begin with what's sure to be a rousing performance by the popular band 'Franky B. and Friends,' along with Jimmi D & Jason Champion, bringing a sweet blend of funk/R&B-infused rock, jazz, and blues."
The night will culminate, according to the release, with another one of the area's new and top musical groups, "Mel-oh," comprised of a group of talented musicians who, at the urging of friends, decided to merge all of their styles and backgrounds to deliver an exciting, fresh, eclectic musical mix of gospel, old school, funk, jazz, R&B, rock, hip- hop, country, and pop, promoted by In-House Productions.
Sponsors of this event include the Bartlett Patterson Corporation and The Tennessee Arts Commission.
STREET DANCE ON FRIDAY
As is also part of the celebratory tradition, the main festivities -- which are planned for Saturday -- will be preceded by the annual "Street Dance on Davis" to be held Friday evening, Aug. 2, on Davis Street in the Wesley Heights Community.
The street dance will begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue throughout the evening, with a "gathering of folks, young and not-so-young, just plain having fun socializing, reuniting, and 'shakin' their tail feathers' as the disc jockey pumps out the music!"
Food vendors will be on hand.
Additional information or questions pertaining to this year's "8th of August" Emancipation Day festivities can be directed to email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) , or via Facebook.com @ George Clem Multicultural Alliance, or by telephone to GCMA Board Chairman Gene Maddox at 423-588-4035.