CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - June 19, known as Juneteeth, is a day African Americans across the country celebrate their freedom in the United States.
Junteenth is the day in 1865 that the last enslaved black people learned they had been freed from bondage.
This year, a Juneteenth community celebration will be held in Cape Girardeau.
“We just have to recognize we are all a part of the human family. And that we all need to love each other,” said event organizer and local vendor Michele Jackson.
Jackson explained why this event is so important to the black community.
“The meaning of Juneteenth is basically our Independence Day. Union General Gordon Granger actually reading the federal order. Letting the slaves who haven’t been emancipated yet know you are free,” she said.
This is why, she said, there’s a need to commemorate this special day.
“It’s a celebration of our freedom,” she said. “And because of our experience in America, we don’t really get to celebrate that freedom.”
Kayla Smith, entrepreneur and owner of a local boutique, said now is the time to share her culture with others.
“In times right now with a lot of things that are going on in the world right now, the obvious, it’s important to stay focused on where we come from, what our culture is, and where we came from,” she said.
At the event, Smith said there will be plenty of food, games for the kids and a makeshift library full of educational books.
“There is going to be different activities and things going on,” she said. “We are going to have vendor tables set up with entrepreneurs and business owners.”
The Juneteenth celebration event takes place on Friday, June 19 at the corner of Frederick and Independence Street in Cape Girardeau from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
One City is hosting the event.
One of the organizers said they look forward to bringing the community together to learn about black business and also educate the public about a very pivotal moment in black history.
Event organizers said they will be practicing the CDC social distancing guidelines throughout the event, and they recommend everyone to wear personal protection equipment when attending.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
This is not the first time Cape Girardeau has held a Juneteenth celebration.
According to the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, a Jackson woman, Billie Davis, organized the first celebration back in the 80s. Davis was an employee of Procter & Gamble and she worked with Southeast Missouri State University to put on the celebration.