The public is being invited to Greeneville’s first annual Juneteenth celebration on Sunday, June 19.

The free event will include live music and dance, educational speakers, and fun activities for all ages. Hours will be 3-7 p.m. at the Big Spring Park located behind the Greeneville-Greene County Library in downtown Greeneville, event organizers say in a news release.

Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday in 2021, commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas, the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery, the release details.

This celebration is being sponsored locally by the Town of Greeneville and the George Clem Multicultural Alliance, the release continues.

Greeneville City Administrator Todd Smith and George Clem Multicultural Association representatives, Bill Edmonds and Angela Campbell, will kick off the festivities at 3 p.m. with a special welcome.

Scripture reading and prayer will be led by Father Ken Saunders of St. James Episcopal Church. The choir of Miller’s Chapel Church of Baileyton will lead the crowd in singing, followed by a praise dance by Sarina Anderson.

Also on the schedule is a special presentation from William Isom, director of the Black In Appalachia program, an initiative of East Tennessee PBS, which works to highlight the history and cultural impact of African-Americans in the region.

The featured guest speaker for the Juneteenth Celebration will be Dr. Daryl A. Carter, professor and associate dean of history and director of Black American Studies at East Tennessee State University.

Following Carter will be a youth poem recital of “We The People,” which was written by Amanda Gorman, the first U.S. Youth Poet Laureate.

An African drum/dance performance by West African Guinea Dance featuring Dara Benton will also be a part of the event.

Greeneville’s own Jay Davis, who performs a mix of country and hip-hop music, will kick off the musical entertainment for the Juneteenth Celebration. He will be followed by the headlining entertainment, Meloh Soul & The 865 Band, who will take the stage around 5 p.m. This Knoxville-based band covers a variety of musical genres including funk, R&B, soul and pop favorites.

In addition to live entertainment, the Juneteenth celebration will feature food and other activities throughout the day.

A Kids Zone will feature inflatables, face painting, a visit from a fire truck and many other activities.

Attendees are asked to bring their own chair or blanket.

According to the release, admission to the celebration is free thanks to event sponsors: Heritage Community Bank, Atlas Books, Andrew Johnson Bank, Greeneville Federal Bank, Apex Bank, Towne Square Package Store, Mayor W.T. Daniels, Greene County Democratic Party, United Way of Greene County, Greene County Partnership, C&C Millwright, and Friends of George Clem Multicultural Association.

More information can be found on the “Greeneville Juneteenth 2022” Facebook event page or by visiting www.greenevilletn.gov.

Anyone who would like to become a sponsor of Greeneville Juneteenth can contact Carla Bewley at 423-639-8322 or csbewley@gmail.com.

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