Montevallo to present second annual Juneteenth Celebration

Published 1:56 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Following its inaugural outing last year, the city of Montevallo’s Park and Recreation Board will again partner with the Montevallo Legacy Project and Montevallo Main Street to present the city’s second annual Juneteenth Celebration.

The event, which will be held at George Dailey Park, will take place on Wednesday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free for all to attend.

“We are excited to host our second annual Juneteenth celebration in George Dailey Park,” said Pamela Smith, chair of Montevallo’s volunteer Parks and Recreation Board. “We invite everyone to join us on June 19 to honor the resilience, courage and enduring spirit of those who fought tirelessly for liberation.”

Juneteenth first became an officially designated federal holiday in June 2021 but existed as an unofficial one for more than a century marking the day, June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas.

The day now serves as a national celebration of freedom and an observance of the ending of the practice of slavery in America as a whole.

The organization of a Juneteenth event in Montevallo was both a long-term objective and dream for the late Johnny Holsombeck, who served as a board member for the Montevallo Parks and Recreation Board prior to his death in 2023. Now, current organizers view last year’s inaugural celebration, and this year’s follow up, as a tribute to Holsombeck’s and other community leader’s efforts to recognize the holiday.

Holsombeck specifically will be honored with a posthumous honoring presented as part of the event.

“This event is a testament to the ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for generations to come,” Smith said. “We are delighted to partner with several local organizations to bring you a day of celebration, reflection and education. I extend a heartfelt thank you to all the organizations, volunteers and special guests who have made this event possible.  A special ‘Thank you’ to the Montevallo Parks and Recreation Board members for their tireless work and dedication to serving the people of Montevallo.”

The celebration will feature a program delivered by guest speakers and representatives of community organizations along with refreshments and a variety of children’s activities. The event will further showcase youth groups from local area churches. Girl Scout Troop 205 and a live performance led by students of DRUM the program that will be followed with a drum class led by Aboubacar Sylla.

Other community partners who will be on site include the Montevallo Junior City Council, Impact Montevallo, Montevallo Legacy Project, Montevallo Main Street, Shelby County NAACP, Parnell Memorial Library, God Did It Ministries, Survivor’s Rock, Inc., the town of Wilton and Gamma Phi Delta Sorority Inc. Alpha Pi Chapter.

Retired educators Dr. Annie McClain and Johnny McClain will serve as the emcees for the event, while other community leaders such as Montevallo Mayor Rusty Nix, Parks and Recreation Board Chair Pamela Smith and City Councilmember Lelia Mitchell will also be featured in the program.

“I am truly honored to serve in the city of Montevallo as a councilperson with Mayor Rusty Nix and my fellow city councilpersons, as well as with the committees and commissions as they outreach and serve the city of Montevallo with gladness and promote our citizens and youth,” Mitchell said. “Thanks to Mr. Johnny Holsombeck for choosing the historical George Dailey Park for the location of the Juneteenth Celebration, which is in District Two where I serve as councilperson. Everyone is welcome to come and fellowship with the city of Montevallo.”