Juneteenth a huge success

Staff reports

“This is all about the young people,” said event organizer, Kathe Hambrick Jackson, director of the River Road African American Museum. “We have people here from Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, all over, who come here every year to visit their families and have family reunions.”

Juneteenth is celebrated yearly in Donaldsonville to celebrate African American Emancipation Day.

Gospel music and recognition of six pastors and ministers of music for their contribution to the River Parishes area highlighted Saturday’s Juneteenth celebration in Louisiana Square.

The highlight for the day was the gospel acts.

Hosea Reditt, minister of music for the Christian Assembly Full Gospel Church of Gonzales, and his youth choir, “The Youth Explosion,” performed several contemporary gospel songs and then brought dozens in the audience to their feet with an exciting rap number, “Let Me See You Move.”

“What I do is try to incorporate the music they like and take it from the street and put it in the church,” said Redditt.

Other artists were honored as well: Reuben C. Northern, Cleveland W. Washington, the Rev. Lucien Garret, and Wayne Valentine for their service to the community through gospel music.

The commemorative ceremony at Fort Butler kicks off the festival every year since 2000. It is to honor soldiers who fought on the Union side of the Civil War.

Louisiana square housed dozens of booths selling food and drinks, displaying historic African-American art and information. A health pavilion was set up for attendees to receive hospital and clinic information and there was a booth giving free AIDS tests and information on a wide variety of health issues.