MULLINS, S.C. – Mullins’ Smith Haven Park hosted the first Juneteenth celebration in Mullins Saturday. A large crowd gathered for the day-long event that featured more than 40 vendors and hours of entertainment along with history shared with the community.
Mullins City Councilwoman Terry Davis said the recognition of Juneteenth and hosting a commemorative event with the community was something she always wanted to do.
“When I thought of the idea, I had the pleasure of attending other Juneteenth celebrations in other states,” Davis said. “I had no idea the level it would be taken at this point where it becomes a national holiday.”
The event included speakers, music, dance, food, arts, crafts and a kids’ zone.
Davis thanked the 14-member committee that helped organized the celebration and the sponsors that helped it come to fruition.
Pick 42 Foundation Executive Director Miko Pickett, one of the organizers of the event said the response and attendance was amazing.
“It’s just one word and it’s amazing,” she said. “We’re just getting started and to see the months of planning and preparation is worth its weight in gold. We’re so glad to see the community come out.”
Mullins Mayor Robert Woodbury said the vision of the committee and partnership with city officials made the event possible.
“As a city we are getting to a point where we are looking into diversity,” he said. “It shows that we are moving in the right direction.”
President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on Thursday, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
Saturday’s inaugural celebration displayed a Mullins community’s tribute to Juneteenth and mission to inform about one of the oldest celebrations commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Davis said it was an opportunity to teach and called it a team effort.
“I want people to enjoy all the free things, information booths, food that we have and all the supplies being sold,” she said. “But I want people to walk away from here knowing what Juneteenth means.”
On June 19, 1865, Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read to the people of Galveston Texas “in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
It was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in a state with more than 250,000 slaves over time impacted by the news.
Texas is renowned for celebrating the day that is now the first new federal holiday that has been established by Congress since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.