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FRIDAY, June 14 — What started as a 1993 get together brought to Lansing by Texas native Gordon Haskins, a member of the Mask Memorial CME Church, has blossomed into three days celebrating African American History. Dating back to 1865, Juneteenth commemorates the date Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, with news the Civil war ended.
It is a tradition Juneteenth event organizer Marilyn Plummer has overseen from the beginning in Lansing, taking it from a small get-together to a Michigan state holiday in 2005. Plummer is a staff member in the Lansing Mayor’s Office.
“This is a reunion, and every year people know they are going to see the people they know. It is like a city of Lansing reunion,” Plummer said.
The festival includes food from Marsha’s BBQ and entertainment from artists Renee King Jackson, Lady Champagne, R. Denard McCrary and the Metro Detroit Area Fellowship Choir and Michelle Miller-Bell. Vendors are on hand selling traditional African garb as well as handmade artisan goods.
A parade will also take place from the Letts Community Center to St. Joseph Park. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs if seating is desired.
“This festival brings our government and community leaders together with a common bond,” Plummer said.
“Yes, we need to remember our history, but now we have to do something about advancing and understanding. Some people have different cultures than mine and that is okay, but we need to learn to cohabitate in the same space and this is what events like this are doing.”
Friday 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Joseph Park, 2125 W. Hillsdale St., Lansing
Saturday at 10 a.m., Letts Community Center, 1220 W. Kalamazoo Street, Lansing