TUSCUMBIA, Ala. — People from across the Shoals gathered at Willie Green Park in Tuscumbia for Juneteenth—celebrating the liberation of slaves in America.
People took to the stage to lift their voices in praise and worship for the first Jammin 4 justice Celebration.
Co-organizer Melissa Hardin said she didn’t know what to expect while planning the event. “It started off as a small idea just to lighten the hearts of people and just play some music, now it’s turned into a full-fledged event,” Hardin said.
Originally celebrating the liberation of the last slaves in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth now celebrates the freedom of all slaves in America.
Hardin said she’s thankful for all of the support she’s received from city leaders around the Shoals. “As a mayor that’s my job to be part of the community so anything I can do to back her up to give her logistical assistance and to be a part of this event—a hundred percent in,” said Tuscumbia Mayor Kerry Underwood. The mayors of Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Florence sponsored the event as well.
Hardin said it’s an unfortunate truth that many people don’t know what Juneteenth is but is happy for an event like this that can raise awareness.
“We are 155 years past the emancipation proclamation, the Juneteenth celebration, and we’re still having to fight for different things and so that’s why we even said hey, let’s use music because we didn’t want to come from a negative tone,” Hardin said. “Music is one of those things—it brings people together; it transcends all types of racial and ethnic borders and barriers.”