On June 18, the City of Cape Girardeau will hold its first community-wide Juneteenth Day Celebration. Cape Girardeau will celebrate the country’s newest federal holiday at Ivers Square from noon until 6 p.m. Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. The law designates June 19 as Juneteenth Day.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in Texas when word of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War reached the state. The message arrived with Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth has been celebrated in African American communities around the country for more than 150 years. Earliest celebrations were church-centered community events.
Cape’s celebration will be a day filled with fun, information and music. The highlights will include children’s activities, door prizes, food, raffles and entertainment.
Entertainment will be provided by artists and performers from around the country. Ernest James Zydeco will bring Louisiana style zydeco to Cape. The Kansas City based group’s sound features accordions and washboards. The group headlined the International Cajun and Zydeco Festival in the Netherlands in 2014.
Also taking the stage that day will be poet and playwright Ebony Stewart. From Texas, Stewart has toured internationally and is one of the most decorated poets in the state. She is a Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion and an award-winning playwright. Her one-woman shows Hunger and Ocean have received B. Iden Payne Awards and the David Mark Cohen New Play Award.
Sikeston native, Anna Catherine DeHart, will bring her musical talent to the celebration. DeHart appeared on season 13 of The Voice and was a member of Blake Shelton’s team. Her career highlights include opening for David Nail, Lee Greenwood and the legendary Kenny Rogers.
St. Louis native Steven ‘Gabrial’ Thompson II also will share his singing talents at the celebration. Professionally known as Gabrial, he began his career playing drums in church and eventually, at his father’s urging, he also began playing the organ. He later used his skills as a pianist, organist and keyboardist to become a songwriter and a music producer. Gabrial says his influences include his father, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z and Tupac among others.
Also performing at the celebration will be The J Sound, Tamika Green, Seanel Paris and LaCroix.
For more information contact; Ron North at (225) 385-1259.