The festive occasion was part of the annual Juneteenth Celebration that celebrates local pioneers who worked to achieve their goals after being freed from slavery.
“Juneteenth teaches kids to see a person and not color,” said Zella Ware while helping her daughter, Tkeya, with her hair.
While young children took their turn on the playground equipment and on party jumpers, others had the grills and conversation going full force.
“The day gives children something to do and still enables them to learn about faith,” said Sherri Batie. “Other than trying to stay cool, I will be out here spending time with my only grandson.”
Juneteenth — a portmanteau of June and nineteenth — is the oldest known celebration marking the death of slavery in America. Its history reaches back to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed in Texas carrying news that the Civil War was over and slaves were now free.
“I am enjoying seeing friends who I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Hildred Davis as she sat under a shade tree. “It’s usually too hot for me to come, but it has been an enjoyable day to be with friends.”
Vincent Ross was glad to see all the fellowship taking place just after noon at the park.
“I like the idea that we can come together and celebrate each other,” said Ross, chairman of the board for the Minority Volunteers Association, a United Way agency that helps provide for the continued education of youth in Corinth. “The good thing is that Christians, businesses and the common man can all come together and be unified today.”
Recognizing those who have paved the way for others plays an important part in the annual celebration, according to Ross.
“That’s what Juneteenth is all about,” he said. “We can’t forget about those people who have helped us develop to where we are today.”
Ross thinks Bishop, the only African American mayor of Corinth, would be proud of the celebration on Saturday.
“He would look around and think what he went through was well worth it,” said Ross. “It’s about the content of our heart not the color of our skin … now we can all respect one another and appreciate who we are.”