PHOENIXVILLE - A play, a walk and a borough park festival will mark Saturday's 139th anniversary of Juneteenth Day, which celebrates freedom and Emancipation Day in remembrance of when Texas slaves learned of their freedom.
On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was issued and two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered, news reached Texas that the slaves were free. Texas celebrates the occasion as a state holiday.
To mark the event, the Northside Community Watch Association, with partners Diversity In Action and the Colonial Theatre, will sponsor the day of "Soul Power."
According to organizer Pam Dunn, this spectacular cultural awareness event is an observance of the African American slave experience and strength and struggle for freedom - it's a freedom affair.
Juneteenth celebrations will not just celebrate freedom for African-Americans, but also emphasize educational opportunity, personal achievement, individual assessment and reflect on how to create a better future, she said.
"Juneteenth instills community pride, cultural awareness and promotes diversity and tolerance," said Dunn. "It's not just for African-Americans. It's for all cultures because freedom is precious and we need to protect our freedom and celebrate it."
From 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. there will be plenty of "Freedom Fun for Everyone."
Activities for Phoenixville's Second Annual Juneteenth Day or Soul Holiday will include a performance at the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge Street, of the play, "Behold the Soul" at 10:30 a.m. The drama is a historical and spiritual lesson about the soul of a human being demonstrating tolerance and diversity in people both past and present. Tickets are available at the Colonial for $5; youth 18 and under pay $2.
The Parade for Freedom will head for Andre Thornton Park on Main Street from the Colonial at 11:40 a.m. Following the play, a 15-minute inspirational walk will give participants a chance to chant "I'm FREE."
Participants will receive a traditional strawberry soda in the park.
The Park Musicology Fest at Andre Thornton Park will start at noon and feature appearances by MC Tamlin Henry of WDAS FM 105.3, Turning Point Contemporary Gospel Band, Boys Community Choir of Phoenixville, On the Street Gospel revival and a special appearance by Patricia McAllister and LATIN.
Along with "soul" style foods and music, the Heritage Center, face painting, line dancing, children's crafts, baked goods, food vendors and information booths will attract the crowds.
Rain date is Saturday June 26 and for information call 610-917-8297.