Juneteenth Celebrations will be held Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Burgess and Gregory Park at McGehee and from 3-6 p.m. at the Historic Downtown Farmers Market at Hot Springs. The events are free and open to the public.


The Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission is hosting the events in partnership with the McGehee MLK Committee and the Hot Springs MLK Committee, according to a news release.


“Juneteenth commemorates the 1865 announcement of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America,” according to the release.


McGehee: The McGehee celebration will feature live entertainment, historical re-enactments, kids’ zone, free food and giveaways.


“Every time we come to Southeast Arkansas, I am inspired by the enthusiasm and pride that these Arkansans have for their community,” DuShun Scarbrough, MLK commission executive director, said.


The Rev. Leroy Hood is with the McGehee MLK Committee, one of the organizers.


“We are looking forward to this event which is important for the McGehee community,” Hood said. “Beyond King Holiday, Dr. King would want communities to continue efforts to build relationships and promote service.”


The MLK Commission held a Back to School Bash in the McGehee area previously and the community service was so overwhelming that they decided to sponsor the MLK Committee’s Juneteenth Celebration, Scarbrough said.


Hot Springs: The Hot Springs celebration will include a Juneteenth Car Show, Father’s Day tributes and motivational speeches by youth. Community Officer Tommy Norman of North Little Rock will be acknowledged for his national efforts to build positive community relationships between law enforcement and civilians, according to the release.


According to the news release, the educational event at Hot Springs will also include keynote presentations from Ledura WatKins, who served more than 41 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, and the Rev. Wheeler Parker, cousin of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was lynched in 1955.


Details: DuShun Scarbrough, 888-290-KING.