Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will host its annual Juneteenth celebration and the opening of its newest exhibit, “Finding Freedom in the Forest,” on June 15.
MTCC hosts the free Juneteenth festival each year to celebrate African American freedom and achievement. This year’s event will be Saturday, June 15, from noon to 6 p.m. and will include live music, vendors, food trucks, a kids zone and more.
Featured performers will include Grammy-nominated R&B artist Carl Thomas and six-time Stellar Award-winning and Grammy-nominated gospel artist VaShawn Mitchell.
Attendees will be able to show off their skills in the Juneteenth 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament and the Level Up Youth Dance Competition.
The basketball tournament will include brackets for four divisions: men’s, women’s, youth and special abilities. The tournament is supported by West Central Community Center and the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. Cash prizes will be awarded. Registration is $50 per team and the deadline to register is June 1.
The Level Up Youth Dance Competition will allow teams of 2-4 dancers to compete in two divisions: Ages 8-13 and Ages 14-19. Competitors will perform in preliminary tryouts on May 19, and guest judges will select two teams from each division to compete for cash prizes on the Juneteenth stage. Registration is $25 per team and the deadline to register is May 9.
To register for either of these competitions or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 501-683-3593.
Juneteenth attendees will have the first opportunity to view the museum’s newest exhibit, “Finding Freedom in the Forest: Opportunities and Challenges for African Americans in the Timber Industry,” which will open at the event. This exhibition is a family friendly experience designed to explore the history of the timber industry through the lens of African Americans in Arkansas.
“Finding Freedom in the Forest” will feature engaging topics such as the history of lumber towns in Arkansas and African American soldiers who used skills learned in the logging industry to build trenches in WWI Europe.
The exhibit will incorporate a diorama of 1920s Crossett, Ark., including a working model train and railroad to illustrate the vital role that railroads had on the expansion of the logging industry in Arkansas.
A children’s gallery will provide a multisensory experience showcasing the beauty and grandeur of the forest.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas, origin in 1865, the observance of Juneteenth as a celebration of African American emancipation has spread across the United States and beyond. Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.
Juneteenth is made possible in part through a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, funded by the Arkansas Real Estate Transfer Tax.