By: Tony McCray
2016 Annual Juneteenth Celebrations are happening all over the nation and all over Pensacola and Escambia County. Juneteenth is a celebratory special day of observance commemorating the announcement made in Texas in June 1865 that all slaves were freed by the Emancipation signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
The holiday is observed primarily in local celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, singing traditional songs such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, and readings by noted African-American writers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Celebrations may include parades, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, or Miss Juneteenth contests.
C.C. Biggs Productions is boasting its Juneteenth Celebration on June 18th will be the largest the Gulf Coast has ever seen. C.C. Biggs met up the Gulf Coast Cultural Community Network from Mobile in 2015 and began to explore bringing a larger Juneteenth Celebration to the Pensacola Fairgrounds. However, the 2016 event is turning out to be the game changer for Gulf Coast African-American heritage events.
So, on Saturday June 18th the gates open at 11:00 am with vendors of all types and the Pensacola Vikings Bike Club as an event partner with Gulf Coast Cultural Community Network from Mobile. The celebration is on the way to becoming an annual event according to C.C Biggs, with biker clubs acknowledging the local biker club as a co-host there are clubs riding from Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and the Carolinas.
Starchild will be serving as M.C. and the Blues Hound will serve as the host for the day’s events. The acts for the main stage are Southern Soul singer Steve Perry who sings “The Booty Roll” and “You Can’t Raise Her”; L.J. Echols who sings “Hit It From The Back” and “She Dragging That Wagon”; Nelson Curry doing his hit “Sugar Shack”; Smooth Jazz artist David Jones; Brother Harris and his Reggae Band and Ms. Linda performing her Southern Soul show. Additionally, Poleon Williams and Polimbotree will also be performing African Dance and the Spoken Word. There will also be Gospel artists performing such as the Heavenly Stars with other groups being announced next week.
Organizations such as the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation are working toward gaining Congressional approval to designate Juneteenth as a national day of observance.