Valdosta Daily Times

June 19, 2013

Celebrating Juneteenth

Quinten Plummer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Some find it hard to look US slavery in its eyes when glancing back on history, but the Juneteeth committee reminded Valdostans how a people persevered through the barbaric institution as they held the city's 21st annual Juneteenth celebration at Mathis City Auditorium on Tuesday evening.

Poems, prayers and a candle lighting set the tone for the first half of the celebration. The Juneteenth Mass Choir and Don Reames Teen Center Director, 22-year-old Valious Smith, highlighted the second half of the program, leaving a room full of filled stomachs calling out for more.

Our ancestors were some of the strongest, most courageous and persevering people who fought for many years through slavery and they fought to get out it, said Volious Smith as she got into the heart of her address.

“Some said we were never meant to be equal, but the 1960's occurred,” said Smith. “They marched and they fought and they marched and they fought until we were considered equal. Some said we'd never amount to anything. But without us, this nation couldn't function properly.”

If you enjoyed the mass choir tonight, come out Saturday,  stated Juneteen Chairman Dr. Beverly Blake as the evening drew to a close. We're going to let them loose on the courthouse square, she stated.

The Juneteenth celebrations continue Saturday with a 7:30 a.m. 5K run and walk at Serenity Church at 1619 North Lee Street and continues with a historic tour of South Valdosta at 10 a.m.

A Juneteenth proclamation, scheduled for 1 p.m., will start Saturday's activities on the courthouse square, followed by lunch and a gospel concert on the lawn.

Find out more about the Juneteenth Celebration Committee or the South Side Library by calling 229-253-8313.