Juneteenth events in Port Arthur begin June 8; see the schedule here

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023

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The African American Cultural Society is organizing events to commemorate June 19, the day Texas enslaved people learned of their freedom. Theme for 2023 is LIFT EVERY VOICE.

A gospel explosion, pageant, sneaker ball and parade are part of Juneteenth activities during this Quasquicentennial year in Port Arthur.

Observances begin with a Thursday flag-raising ceremony.

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Community members are invited to join the City of Port Arthur and Shane Sinegal, Precinct 3 Commissioner, at the Jefferson County Sub-Courthouse to raise the Juneteenth Flag at 525 Lakeshore Drive. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Each year Sinegal’s Office recognizes Juneteenth as the day slavery finally ended in the United States. On June 19, 1865, the last group of enslaved people was informed of their liberation in Texas, two and a half years after the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War.

The flag is raised early in June to signal June is the Month of Freedom and to remember those gone before us.

The Juneteenth Flag uses the same colors as the United States red, white and blue to show formerly enslaved people and their descendants are free Americans, too. Juneteenth is now recognized as a federal holiday.

Additional events include:

  • Gospel Explosion – 6 p.m. June 15, at Lamar State College Port Arthur
  • Ms. Juneteenth Pageant – location to be announced, June 17
  • Alumni Softball Tournament – 9 a.m. at Staff Sgt. Lucian Adams Park June 17.
  • Sneaker Ball – 9 p.m. June 17 at S&G Auditorium
  • Marcus Garvey Juneteenth Torchlight Parade – June 19, with a 5 p.m. lineup at corner of Procter Street and Stilwell. The parade begins at 6 p.m. from Stilwell Boulevard to Barbara Jacket Park. Activities at Barbara Jacket Park immediately following parade
  • Carolyn Thibodeaux will coordinate a Juneteenth display at the Port Arthur Public Library.

Gail Pellum, of the African American Cultural Society, says Juneteenth is a day to appreciate and celebrate freedom and the inclusion of all races, ethnicities and nationalities in the community.

All are invited to wear cultural attire and join in the parade, decorate cars and trucks and sign up drill teams, dance groups and talents for park activities. There will be an official T-shirt, booths and souvenir book ads. For more information, call Pellum at 409-332-1709.