MONTGOMERY - Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum will celebrate Juneteenth on June 17, with a block party including local performers, food, arts and crafts and free museum tours.
The theme of the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., is "Break Your Chains." The section of Montgomery Street between Lee and Moulton streets will be blocked off for the event.
The oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19, in recognition of the date in 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were free.
"Junteeenth is a holiday commemorating June 19, 1865, the day when Union soldiers arrived in Texas to announce President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Since then, it has been a celebration of freedom, achievements and culture for African Americans nationwide," said Dr. Felicia Bell, the museum's director. "The Rosa Parks Museum will host its inaugural Juneteenth celebration block party on June 17. We are looking forward to this fun-filled, family-oriented, community event. There will be food, shopping, music, performances and, of course, free tours of the Rosa Parks Museum for everyone to enjoy."
Comedienne JOY, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Clean," will serve as the emcee for the event. The Birmingham resident is the co-host of The Joe Lockett radio show, and travels the world spreading joy at churches and corporate events. Since 2004, Comedienne JOY's clean comedy has landed her spotlights on TBN and the pages of "Essence Magazine," and she has shared the stage with Chris Tucker, Huggy Low Down, Rob Schneider, and Deitrick and Damita Haddon, among others.
Also providing musical entertainment throughout the day is the Montgomery-based "D.J. At Large." Local performers will also provide entertainment.
In addition to food and jewelry vendors, booths will be located along the street, providing information about local tourist attractions. Participants will also have the opportunity to tour the museum and the Children's Annex for free, and children can take part in arts and crafts projects.
Dedicated on Dec. 1, 2000, Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum, located on the Montgomery Campus, was constructed on the site of the old Empire Theatre where Mrs. Parks made her courageous stand in 1955. The interpretive museum includes a space for permanent and special exhibits, as well as a 103-seat, multimedia auditorium. Six distinct and unique areas inside the museum tell the story of bravery and courage of Parks, whose arrest sparked the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott. In addition, the Museum includes a Children's Wing where guests travel back through time on the Cleveland Avenue Time Machine, visiting key points in history from the early 1800s to the early "Jim Crow" era.