Fort Smith will honor Juneteenth by hosting a celebration Saturday at the Riverfront Amphitheater in Fort Smith.
The Levitt AMP Fort Smith musical series and the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Festival are also taking place this week. All are free events.
Juneteenth events will also take place in person and online with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock.
The June Day celebration on Saturday at the Riverfront Amphitheater, 121 Riverfront Dr., will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This month’s Levitt AMP Fort Smith musical series will also recognize Juneteenth with music starting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Riverfront Amphitheater featuring jazz trumpeter Rodney Block.
the Fort Smith Riverside Blues Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday at Harry E. Kelley Riverfront Park.
The celebration of Saturday, June 17 begins at 10 a.m. with a religious service in a mini-church. Reverend Paul Davis of St. James Baptist Missionary Church will share the story of Juneteenth – an annual recognition of the end of slavery in the United States that is celebrated on June 19.
After the mini-church service on Saturday, there will be food trucks and a barbecue as well as entertainment; local fraternities and sororities performing a step show and games like Uno, Spades, Chess, Checkers and Dominoes.
“It’s a day for all of us to come together and share. It’s all about community, freedom, camaraderie and fun. It’s just a day to have fun and recognize what happened on June 19 so many years ago, ”said Jurena Storm, Government Affairs Liaison Officer for the Mayor’s Office.
Little Rock Events
In Little Rock, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will host several days of events to celebrate Juneteenth.
The center, a museum in Little Rock that preserves African American history and culture, will host events Wednesday through Saturday in person and via a live Facebook at 1 p.m. each day. The group’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/mosaictemplars.
The Mosaic Templars will kick off a celebration of Juneteenth at 1pm with African-American poetry, music and dance, then at 7pm the “State of the Black Community” forum will take place. This event can be attended in person at the Mosaic Templars building in downtown Little Rock or watched via a live stream on Facebook.
Starting at 1 p.m., the Mosaic Templars will focus on the health of black people, both mental and physical. Guest speakers will provide updates on COVID-19 and minority health as well as yoga and cooking demonstrations. At 7:00 p.m., the “Black Health: COVID-19 and Mental Health” forum will take place. This event can be attended in person at the Mosaic Templars building in downtown Little Rock, 501 W. Ninth St., or watched via the group’s Facebook live stream.
Fort Smith’s Riverfront Amphitheater events will take place Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the Levitt AMP Fort Smith Music series at 7 p.m.
At 1 p.m. on June 18, the focus will be on business. Guest speakers share the story of the black-owned businesses known as the Black Business District that flourished on 9th Street in Little Rock. Speakers will discuss financial literacy and home buying. At 7:00 p.m., the event titled “Black Business: Making the Most of Your Personal Networks” will take place. This event can be attended in person at the Mosaic Templars building in downtown Little Rock or watched via their live stream on Facebook.
To wrap up the weekend of June 17, the Mosaic Templars will celebrate artfully at 1 p.m., as June is also African-American Appreciation Month. The Mosaic Templars will partner with the Arkansas Arts Council to showcase local talent. This event can be attended in person at the Mosaic Templars building in downtown Little Rock or watched via a live stream on Facebook.