Juneteenth celebration wraps up today

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Singers entertain the crowd at last year's Juneteenth celebration, under the roof of the open-air tabernacle at the lakefront site. Today is the culmination of the annual celebration at Booker T. Washington Park on Lake Mexia, with events starting with a parade at 10 a.m. at the park. Contributed photo

Today marks the culmination of the annual Limestone County Juneteenth celebration, with the memorial program taking place this morning.
Events, which began Saturday, take place at Booker T. Washington Park, previously known as Comanche Crossing, originally located on the banks of the Navasota River.
Today's events begin with a parade at 10 a.m. at the grounds of the park, followed by the memorial program at 11 a.m.
"We'll read the Emancipation Proclamation, and have a speaker, choirs and people singing," said Renee Turner, one of the many organizers of the event. "This year, we're going to do a reenactment of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation as seen through the eyes of Walter Cotton, a teacher, writer and artist who lived in Mexia."
On June 19, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read on the Stroud Plantation, home to Limestone County's largest population of slaves. This took place two-and-a-half years after the proclamation was issued by President Lincoln.
The festivities at Comanche Crossing were the first organized "Juneteenth" celebration to take place in the United States. The establishment of the Limestone County Juneteenth Organization occurred in 1892. The organization was one of three groups that owned their own grounds in Texas, the other two being in Houston and Austin.

To read more, pick up a copy of Thursday's The Mexia News, or subscribe to our e-edition.