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Festivities for freedom: Juneteenth in Da Rock among several events throughout the state

by Eric E. Harrison | June 16, 2022 at 6:57 a.m.
MC Lyte (left) and gospel singer Evvie McKinney are part of the Juneteenth live music lineup Saturday near the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette and Special to the Democrat-Gazette/Motown Gospel/Capitol CMG)

Celebrations across the state mark Juneteenth, proclaimed a federal holiday in 2021 and marking the date — June 19, 1865 — that Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved people in that state were officially free.

In Little Rock, most of the prominent events are part of Juneteenth in Da Rock, hosted by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, all day Saturday at various locations around downtown Little Rock, but centering on West Ninth Street, the hub of a thriving Little Rock Black business district throughout much of the 20th century.

The celebrations return to normal after two years of virtual Juneteenth events. Except as noted, admission to all events is free. Call (501) 683-5983 or email quantia.fletcher@arkansas.gov.

The lineup includes:

◼️ Juneteenth 5K Walk/Run, a chip-timed race in partnership with the Little Rock Marathon. The route begins in the SoMa neighborhood, on Main Street south of Interstate 630, and takes participants through some of Little Rock’s most historic Black neighborhoods, passing Central High School and through the campus of Philander Smith College and ending at Arkansas Flag and Banner on West Ninth Street. Register at JuneteenthLittleRock.com.

◼️ At 5 p.m. on the main stage near the center, 501 W. Ninth St., actress, rapper and DJ MC Lyte kicks off a concert with gospel singer Evvie McKinney, winner of the inaugural season of “The Four: Battle for Stardom,” as headliner.

◼️ Food trucks and vendors will line West Ninth Street throughout the day. The Building Black Communities fund is providing 40 free vendor booths to grant recipients.

  photo  R&B singer/songwriter Leela James performs Saturday at The Hall on West Ninth Street in Little Rock. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)
 
 
And elsewhere along West Ninth Street: At 6:30 p.m, R&B singer/songwriter Leela James performs at The Hall, 721 W. Ninth St. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $29.50-$89.50. Visit littlerockhall.com.

And at The Hall during the day: the free University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Education Station and Kid Zone and the MTCC Education Station, with interactive hands-on displays through which families can learn about the history of Juneteenth.

At 6 p.m. Friday at the Ron Robinson Theatre, 100 River Market Ave., Juneteenth in Da Rock partners with the Central Arkansas Library System and Arkansas PBS to offer a “9th Street and Beyond: Black Communities that Sustained Us, Then and Now” that includes a screening of the Arkansas PBS documentary “Dreamland: Little Rock’s West 9th Street” and a conversation with producer Tanisha Joe-Conway and historian Airic Hughes. Admission is free. Call (501) 320-5728 or email jmiller@cals.org.

Several businesses in Little Rock’s SoMa neighborhood are donating a portion of their Saturday sales, including Community Bakery, Esse Purse Museum-Tee’s/Electric Ghost, The Green Corner Store, Loblolly Creamery and Pink Olive.

Events are also taking place around the state — except as noted, on Saturday (arkansasheritage.com/blog/dah/2022/05/31/juneteenth-around-the-state):

LITTLE ROCK

◼️ 10 a.m., The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission’s “Juneteenth the Experience: A Moment in History” at the Arkansas State Capitol. Keynote speaker will be Broadway Joe Booker of radio station KIPR-FM, 92.3, “Power 92.” Admission is free. Call (888) 290-KING.

◼️ 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: “Wear Art Thou Paint Experience Juneteenth,” Majestic Motions Art Studio, 300 River Market Ave.

◼️ 7-9 p.m.: Juneteenth Arkansas Festival, Interstate Park, 3900 S. Arch St.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK

◼️ 4 p.m. Sunday: Juneteenth Stone Soul Picnic, Riverfront Park Drive

CENTRAL ARKANSAS

◼️ 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Juneteenth in the Park, 2101 E. Front St., Lonoke

◼️ 3-6 p.m.: Conway Juneteenth Freedom, 1234 Main St., Conway

◼️ 4-8 p.m.: Benton Juneteenth, Ralph Bunche Park, 1300 S. East St.; Benton Downtown Farmers Market, 125 W. Ashley St., Benton

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

◼️ 6-9 p.m. Friday: Music Downtown at Sundown Juneteenth 2022, 320 W. C St., Russellville

◼️ 12:30 p.m. Sunday: Juneteenth Sneaker Ball, Doubletree Suites Hotel, 301 S.E. Walton Blvd., Bentonville

◼️ 1-9 p.m. Sunday: Northwest Arkansas Celebration, Shiloh Pavilion, 106 W. Emma Ave., Springdale

CAMDEN

◼️ 6-9 p.m. Friday, Juneteenth Parade and Kids Block Party. Parade lineup starts at 5 p.m. near the Post Office on Washington Street; the route runs along Adams Street and Jackson Street, ending at Pope Street. The Kids Block Party starts immediately after the parade at Ira Clark Park on Progress Street.

◼️ 8 a.m. Camden Juneteenth 5K, The Trace, 322 S. Adams Ave.

◼️ 1 p.m., Juneteenth Peace in the Park, Carnes Park, off South Adams Avenue. Fraternal organizations, civic clubs, churches and kids can pitch tents; there will be live music, vendors and food trucks.

◼️ 5 p.m. Sunday, Juneteenth Car Show, Carnes Park. First-place and runner-up trophies in more than 20 categories. $20 entry fee for cars, trucks, Jeeps and SUVs, $10 for motorcycles and slingshots.

More information at facebook.com/camdenJuneteenth.

PINE BLUFF

◼️ 10 a.m.-3 p.m., relocated to downtown, on Main Street between Barraque Street and Third Avenue, songs, praise dancing, storytelling, music, dramatic presentations, informational tables, fellowship and free food. (870) 643-2383; email marylddll@yahoo.com.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS

◼️ 7-9 p.m. today: United Community Organization Juneteenth Festival 2022, Magnolia

◼️ 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Juneteenth Celebration, Feaster Park, Arkadelphia

◼️ noon-7 p.m.: “Keeping History Alive: Juneteenth Celebration,” Front Street, Texarkana

◼️ 3-6 p.m.: Hot Springs Juneteenth, Farmers Market, 121 Orange St., Hot Springs

UPPER DELTA

◼️ 5 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, 3-5 p.m. Sunday, eighth annual Juneteenth, Blytheville

◼️ 9 a.m.: Juneteenth National Holiday Event, Eddie Mae Herron Center, 1708 Archer St., Pocahontas

◼️ 6 p.m.: Fifth annual Official Juneteenth, Jonesboro

LOWER DELTA

◼️ 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Elaine Juneteenth Festival, Main Street, Elaine

◼️ 2-6 p.m.: The Official Juneteenth, Wilmar.

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