Residents celebrate Juneteenth at Smith Park in Jackson

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Residents celebrated Juneteenth with a lot of food, music, and games for kids at Smith Park in Jackson.

“Now, for it to be a national holiday, that lets me know that there’s others that understand the significance of what happened during that time,” said Herman Cotton with MS Heritage, the African American Influence.

Dozens of people gathered in the Capital City today to celebrate the newest federal holiday — Juneteenth.

“As a young African American woman, it means a lot to be able to see this holiday, like grow from something that’s small to see it today,” said Jasmine Puckett, a Jackson resident. “Like where the holiday has grown and you have different events.”

Black-owned businesses lined the sidewalks of the park along with food trucks, live music, and bouncy castles for kids.

However, vendors say the celebrations this year are not only about having fun.

“We’re able to engage and also not only just for the network about it, it’s fine, like learn the history behind everything that has happened in the past. So we can’t forget that,” said Saundra Johnson.

In fact, event attendees say this year’s celebration offers something special - the ability to teach the rich history of the United States that many don’t know about.

“We talked about Fourth of July like everybody was really the same time,” said Cotton. “So there’s so many misconceptions, where the beauty of this becoming a federal holiday actually clears a lot of that in the minds of African Americans and others that were wondering about knowing it already.”

Vendors say Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration for African American history. It’s also a time to celebrate growth.

“It shows a unified nation, a unified city, and Juneteenth isn’t just, you know, for African Americans to celebrate, it’s for everyone to celebrate it,” Puckett said.

“It kind of helps every ethnic group. Regardless of where they come from or where they are, that can relate to the whole American story because we’re all a part of this one fabric called America,” said Cotton.

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