A sesquicentennial parade, zydeco and lectures are part of Juneteenth in Port Arthur this year.  Gail Pellum invites visitors to join in a 500-voice choir in singing the Negro National Anthem.

“I had 500 last year and I hope to have that again,” said Pellum, president of the African American Cultural Society.Juneteenth Pageant 2013

The 19th of June, 1865, is when the enslaved of Texas learned the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed long ago, on Jan. 1, 1863. They had not learned they were supposed to be freed. Texans have historically observed this date.

Port Arthur activities include

  • 2 p.m. Saturday, June 13 – Lecture series with Anthony & Atlantis Browder. Anthony is an archeologist specializing in Egyptology. City Hall, 5th Floor, 444 Fourth Street
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16 – Juneteenth Pageant & Mr. Juneteenth Showcase, Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center, 3401 Cultural Center Drive.
  • 5 p.m. Friday, June 19 – Marcus Garvey Juneteenth Torchlight Parade, with activities to follow including 500-voice choir singing Negro National Anthem. The parade will feature drill teams, sports cars and motorcycles, singers and dancers. Look for vendors. Barbara Jacket Park, Stilwell and Procter Streets.
  • 5 p.m. Saturday, June 20 – Zydeco, live bands at 3Gs, 440 E. 6th St. Friendship Social & Civic Club, Inc.
  • 11 a.m. Sunday, June 21 – Juneteenth Father’s Day, Historic Chapel AME Church, 948 Texas Ave.

Pellum says Juneteenth events are designed to promote unity. Call her at 409-332-1709 for information, or call Naomi Bailey at 409-983-6808.


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