CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state will celebrate Juneteenth Saturday at the state capitol.

Jill Upson

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs will host the celebration from 5-9 p.m. that will feature a performance by award-winning recording artist Donell Jones.

“Each year, HHOMA’s Juneteenth celebration gets bigger and better”, said Jill Upson, executive director. “We are excited about all of our West Virginia performers, and very pleased to welcome Donell Jones to our great state.”

Jones is a Grammy-nominated R&B/Soul singer, songwriter and producer.

Upson said at first she didn’t know if she would be able to attract someone of Jones’ caliber.

“But then we started getting sponsorships coming up to help defray the costs and then I just went ahead and went for it,” she said.

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Donnel Jones

The Juneteenth Celebration, which is actually June 19, commemorates when slaves in Texas first heard about the Emmancipation Proclamation in 1865, a full two years after it was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

“Those slaves (266,000) had not been freed and two years later when they did get the news on June 19, 1865 a huge celebration broke out,” Upson said.

Other performances scheduled for Saturday include McKenzie and Jasmyne Gray, Wild & Wonderful WV Dancers (W3), QT Girl, Karma and 3 Chill, Leisha Gray, Kanawha Players, Jamela Brown, and Kingston Price. The event is also part of Charleston’s FestivALL line-up.

The event, in its third year, is free and open to the public. It will include lots of games and prizes.

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