State set to return to in-person Juneteenth celebration on Saturday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following a 2021 virtual state celebration of Juneteenth, Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs Director Jill Upson says she cannot wait to be at the live event on Saturday at the state Capitol lawn.

Upson’s office along with Charleston’s FestivALL and the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission have the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration planned at the Kanawha Boulevard lawns of the West Virginia Capitol Complex on Saturday, June 18, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Juneteenth is on Sunday.

Jill Upson

The free celebration will include three headline bands: Hi-5, Ruff Endz, and Surface.

“Being out there live and the good vibes and feelings, listening to the music and hearing children playing, it’s a different experience when you get back to a live event,” Upson told MetroNews.

In addition to these exciting headline artists, the event will feature award-winning comedian Crystal Powell as the emcee, along with local West Virginia talent and DJ, Big L.

West Virginia artists selected to perform at the Juneteenth Celebration include the following:
Logical – Rap music
Kingston “Drummer King” Price – Drum covers
McKenzie Gray – Vocalist
The Heavy Hitters Band
Somethin’ Special – Jazz band
WV Division of Corrections – K-9 and drone presentation
Nathaniel Smith – Poetry
Dale Kat DuVernay – Poetry

Upson said inflatables for children, food vendors of all types of grub and other booths will be set up during the event.

Events are also planned in Martinsburg, Wheeling, Huntington, Beckley, Fairmont, and North Charleston. Upson said it’s special that many West Virginians are celebrating this historic day.

“Our Juneteenth Celebration recognizes the historical significance of the date June 19,” said Upson. “This date, in 1865, is considered to be when the last slaves in America were freed, almost two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. We look forward to joining West Virginians in celebration of this very important occasion.”

2021 marked the first year that Juneteenth was recognized as a state holiday.

June 19, 1865, is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed when General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and issued General Order No. 3, almost two and one-half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the state resolution text reads.

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