New Bedford Celebrates Juneteenth Holiday
Several events took place Saturday in New Bedford to mark the first-ever "official" Juneteenth holiday.
President Joe Biden signed legislation this week to make "Juneteenth," or June 19, a federal holiday. The holiday marks the 1863 emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
The events included a pop-up vendors market at the Rotch Jones-Duff House on County Street, sponsored by Buy Black NB. More than 20 vendors representing Black-owned businesses in Southeastern Massachusetts displayed their products and services to people ready to get outside and enjoy the day. Organizer Justina Perry told WBSM's Brian Thomas that more than 150 people did some browsing and buying during the first two hours of the event.
Also Saturday was an outdoor event at the NAACP building on Cedar Street. It featured entertainment, food trucks, local vendors and arts and crafts. The event kicked off with the singing of the African-American anthem by Jessica Brito.
A third celebration was held at the site of Abolition Row Park at Seventh and Spring Streets. The event was sponsored by the New Bedford Historical Society and featured music, arts and crafts, and folk tales – plus abolition stories from re-enactors.