GEORGETOWN — The momentous proclamation commemorating abolition of slavery in America more than 150 years ago will be celebrated June 19 in the heart of Sussex County.
Following a 2020 cancellation due to COVID-19, this year’s Juneteenth celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation will be staged on the grounds of the historic Richard Allen School.
The daylong event will begin at 11 a.m. It will feature entertainment, historical information, food, vendors, games and door prizes.
The event is sponsored by the Richard Allen Coalition, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Sussex Alumnae Chapter, Restoration Worship Center, Everlasting Hope Ministries and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, in collaboration with the Buffalo Soldiers.
In addition to music, entertainment will include cultural dancing by the Nanticoke Indians, the Ken Huff and Mr. Goodwood ventriloquist act and poetry referencing the event’s history.
“And we’re continuing to get entertainment,” said Jane Hovington, president of the Richard Allen Coalition.
Buffalo Soldier representatives will be on hand, with information on how to become part of that organization.
This will be an outdoor event without the indoor tours of the school. “In that we can spread over the acreage at the school, we will be able to adhere to the social distancing,” said Ms. Hovington.
Although some COVID-19 restrictions have been lessened, organizers announced there will not be a parade as part of this year’s celebration.
Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. Previous celebrations in Georgetown have served to unite community members, elected officials, fire and police personnel, event sponsors and the public in commemoration of the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the United States and in Texas.
As the event planned for 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, this will be the seventh Juneteenth at the Railroad Avenue site of the Richard Allen School, which was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 20, 2019.
Among the scheduled speakers will be Solomon Henry. He attended the Richard Allen School, which opened its doors in the 1920s as one of 80 Delaware schools built for African American children by philanthropist Pierre S. du Pont. The school continued to serve as the heart of the African American community for over half a century.
When desegregation was implemented, it became part of the Indian River School District. Ultimately, the district decided to close the building.
In 2014, a diverse group of men and women united to form the Richard Allen Coalition, whose mission is to restore the school, so it can once again be a cultural, civic and educational center.
The deadline for vendors to register for the Juneteenth event is May 15. For information, contact Pastor Steward at 344-6849. The vendor cost is $50 and free for service organizations.
Individuals or groups selling food must obtain a permit from the state.
Anyone wishing to volunteer or offer entertainment or other services on this day should email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.