Celebrations commemorating the end of slavery in the United States are planned across Arkansas starting this weekend.
Several activities are planned throughout the week to mark the official date when both slavery and the Civil War ended — June 19, 1865, also called Juneteenth.
On Saturday, the Ralph Bunche Community Development Corporation will host the Benton Juneteenth Celebration at 3 p.m. in Ralph Bunche Park. The communitywide celebration will include entertainment, face-painting, family activities, a children’s play area and a free meal of hot dogs and hamburgers.
At 5 p.m., the Second Baptist Saints of Little Rock will challenge team Go Huge of Benton in a co-ed softball game at the park, 4500 Arkansas 5 North. More information is available by contacting Evelyn Reed at (501) 776-7122.
The 17th annual Northwest Arkansas Juneteenth Celebration will be held from 3-7 p.m. Saturday at Murphy Park in Springdale. The theme of this year’s event is “Black is Beautiful, Black is Healthy,” and the celebration will feature a health fair, live music, a cookout, ice cream and activities for all ages. All activities are free and public. More information about the Northwest Arkansas Juneteenth Celebration is available at www.nwajuneteenth.org.
On June 21, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock, 501 W. Ninth St., will host a free street festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The celebration will include children’s activities, food vendors and live entertainment including gospel, blues, R&B/soul and spoken-word performances.
At 1 p.m., the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, Arkansas Educational Television Network and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will also present a free preview screening of American Experience: Freedom Summer. The movie will be shown in the third floor auditorium of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center followed by a panel discussion. Seating is limited for the screening, and reservations may be made by going to www.ualr.edu/race-ethnicity.