BY VAL GAUGHT

REPORTER

 

Even though some parts of the celebration have been moved to the fall, Crossett’s Juneteenth parade will roll June 13.

The parade will start lining at Crossett High School at 3:30 p.m. The route will be the same as the graduation parade that was held last month, traveling south on Martin Luther King Drive and turning left on Main Street before traveling down Main to Second Avenue. After turning left on Second Avenue, the parade will take a left on MLK and travel back to CHS.

City officials had planned to celebrate the new pavilion at the Crossett Youth Center during this year’s Juneteenth festivities, but because of COVID-19 restrictions some Juneteenth activities have been moved to the Fall.

The Juneteenth committee met with Mayor Crystal Marshall on Monday to discuss hosting a Juneteenth parade this month to celebrate the holiday, but decided to push other events to September.  

Even though Covid restrictions are loosening some of the committee members said they didn’t want to take any chances.

Juneteenth, sometimes referred to as Freedom Day, is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.

Juneteenth committee member Roy Langstaff said that in the 1870s a group of former slaves pooled $800 together through local churches to purchase 10 acres of land and create Emancipation Park to host future Juneteenth celebrations in Houston. 

Langstaff said that in the state of Texas, Emancipation Day became a legal state holiday in 1980 in recognition of Juneteenth.

Forty-six of the 50 states, including Arkansas, now recognize Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance.  

The Arkansas State Legislature first officially recognized Juneteenth Independence Day in 2005. Arkansas recognizes the third Saturday of June as the Juneteenth Independence Day.

Crossett will celebrate the holiday this month with a parade and again in September with a festival.

Marshall said that after the route is completed the participants will then detour to requested areas for shut ins. She asked that anyone who knows of someone who is unable to leave their home but would still enjoy seeing the parade to contact her at City Hall.

Marshall said the city asks that both spectators and those participating in the parade still practice social distancing guidelines as set by the state.

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