Juneteenth Saturday at Melrose

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

A family fun day will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of Melrose to celebrate Juneteenth, the anniversary of the end of slavery.

This is the seventh year of Natchez’s celebration, but Juneteenth itself dates back to June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery with the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth &uot;was the first black holiday, a part of our culture,&uot; said James T. West, one of the local event’s founders. &uot;Especially with Natchez being such a historical town, it’s important to keep something cultural going.&uot;

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This year’s event will feature a libation ceremony and dramatic presentation by Marquetta Goodwine, queen quet and chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation in the islands of South Carolina.

Goodwine has served as founder, board member and consultant of numerous historic, arts and human rights organizations. She has led workshops and presentations on linguistics and the Gullah and Geechee cultures at dozens of universities. She has also authored several books on those cultures.

She has received several awards for her work, including the Harriet Tubman Women of Distinction Award, the BeautySpirit Award and an Image Award.

Featured musicians for the event will include Jesse Robinson and the Knee Deep Band, a Jackson-based blues band.

Robinson, 56, started playing blues and jazz at age 5. He has toured with such artists as B.B. King, Z.Z. Hill, Elmore James, KoKo Taylor, James Cotton, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Millie Jackson, Bobby &uot;Blue&uot; Bland and Little Milton.

The event will also feature performances by the following:

Drummer Charles Johnson.

The Rose Hill Youth Choir, directed by Carl Edwards.

The St. Mark No. 2 Youth Choir, directed by Lonnie Oliver.

The True Praise Mass Choir, directed by Michael Anderson.

The Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church Choir.

The AJFC Inspirational Choir.

The Wal-Mart Community Choir.

Vocalist Guy Spears.

Vocalist Linda Ross.

The Taste of Soul Cook-Off winner will also be announced at about 3 p.m.