The historical Juneteenth Festival will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2016 in Wells Park, aka 38th Street Park. The festival will begin at 11:00 a.m. Traditionally, the festival introduces some of the most outstanding vocalists and musicians in Southeast Georgia. The festival has featured vocalists such as Mr. Lafayette Chester, Miss Stephanie Collier, and Mr. Leroy “Jap” Simpson along with an array of other music geniuses. In addition we have presented superlative bands like: the ILA Gospel Ensemble, the Savannah Community Choir featuring E. Larry McDuffie, the iconic rhythm and blues band Pocket Change, the heavenly sounds of the Gospel Messengers and Mr. Tom Townsend from “A-Town Get Down”.
The Daughters of Mary Magdalene remains committed to introducing and promoting quality music, informative griots, and we place special interest on education. This year we will have a Juneteenth writing contest as well as our young teenagers reciting historical facts about the accomplishments of slaves who courageously fought for their freedom. The student with the most impressive essay will receive a $50.00 cash prize and 2nd and 3rd runner-up will receive gift packages. The History of Juneteenth will be read by Savannah State University Professor; Dr. Jamal Toure. Dr. Toure is a connoisseur of African American history as well as U.S. history.
The Daughters also focuses on individuals who devote their time by giving back to the community. We concentrate on ordinary people who exemplify extraordinary character. This year our Juneteenth honorees are: Dr. Mildred McClain (environmentalist), Apostle Willie B. Jefferson (servant of the Messiah), Mrs. Rose Smith, Mrs. Teneka Gerido, Mrs. Sandra Sampson, Mrs. Jordan Ogden, Mr. Brian Dawsey, African drummers Yusuf Major, his father A. Ray Major who we know as Abu Majied, Mr. George Nixon, Mrs. Debbie Moore and Mr. Music man, Bobby Lewis.
This year, we will premiere a rich and diverse sound of music. We are overwhelmed to be affiliated with the sensational Mr. Bobby Lewis, the New Orleans sound of the ILA Gospel Ensemble, the spiritual sound of Mr. Ben Broxton and the Rainbow Gospel Singers, our young and aspiring artist Fresh Fire and the soulful sound of Mrs. Stephanie Collier.
Our proud sponsors include Comcast who provides all of the food for Juneteenth celebration. The ILA Local Chapter 1414 who provides educational activities and fun amusements for the children. Dr. Stacy Henderson and the City of Savannah along with Alderman John Hall who has supported the Juneteenth Festival for 6 consecutive years. Savannah-Chatham County Public School System school board members Mrs. Irene Hines, Mrs. Ruby Jones and Mrs. Connie Hall support the educational aspects of the Juneteenth essay and writing contest. Special thanks to Dr. Debra Fonteneau, former Savannah State University Professor, the Interdenominational Ministerial
Alliance and the Emancipation Day Association.
We truly would not have been able to spread the good news of Juneteenth without the sound waves of WEAS E-93 and the assistance of Mr. Gil Jones and Mr. Lester “Lec” White and “Georgia’s Best Weekly”, The Savannah Tribune.