Tifton Gazette

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June 17, 2014

Juneteenth Festival set for this Saturday

TIFTON —  Dee and Doc Melton Sr. Cultural Visions will host its inaugural Juneteenth Festival to celebrate freedom, in conjunction with its fourth anniversary of honoring Mr. and Mrs. Daughtry Benjamin  Melton Sr., on June 21 at Fulwood Park, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Daughtry Benjamin (Doc, D.B.) Melton Sr. was the first black American to run for any public office in Tift County after the reconstruction period in 1966.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19 as Emancipation Day has spread across the world to encompass all enslaved people.  It is a day, a week and, in some areas, a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings.  It is a time for reflection, rejoicing and thanksgiving.

The organization's goal is to reach out and help youth academically; reduce suspensions, expulsions and disciplinary referrals; and prevent destructive behavior and decrease crime and violence in our communities. The aim is to increase community pride and social change by encompassing all racial ethnicities.

Dee and Doc Melton Sr. Cultural Visions advocates Juneteenth in a fashion that will promote love and not hate, unity and not division, peace to end all violence, forgiveness and not resentment, and most importantly, to celebrate freedom and love for all cultures.

The event will include jazz, "old school" and rhythm and blues music performed by the Broken Glass Band from Albany, hip-hop artist Bobby Payne and gospel music rendered by Joy Temple Choir from Lenox. Juneteenth will highlight creative storytelling by Cheryl Mack Raye, performing Uncle Remus creative readings and Kashera Woodard, praise dancer, performing a creative rendition of the “Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.” The talent portion of the evening, directed by Juneteenth talent coordinators Franzelle M. Pertilla and Larry Williams, will engage the audience with the “People’s Choice Award” and questions and answers from information about Juneteenth and the honorees, Mr. and Mrs. Doc Melton Sr.

Prizes will be given away to the audience throughout the festival and to the winners of the talent competition.  There will also be water games for children and adults, arts and crafts and creative dancers, in addition to motivational speakers Pastor Cornelius Ponder III, Bishop Q.S. Caldwell, Michael Bennett and the Rev. Timothy Washington.

There will be many vendors with different cultural foods, adult checker and chess games and more.

Mistress of ceremonies will be Nakesha Melton-Green. KJ (Doc Melton) Jackson will preside over the Juneteenth program and give the history of Cultural Visions, and Fannie Gibbs will give the history and purpose of Juneteenth.

The net proceeds are to benefit elementary and high school student winners with stipends to help them with their educational needs and educate the public on the importance of working together in our communities to stop the violence and bullying. The theme of Juneteenth is “None are free until all are free.”

Call 229-392-1979 for more information. The event is free.

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20140726 John Gamble.JPG

John Gamble (right) is joined by John Reid at the Tiftarea YMCA Saturday.

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