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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pittsburgh’s 2016 Juneteenth Festival to Recognize the City’s Historic African American Iconic Leaders

Pittsburgh Financial Juneteenth

Pittsburgh, PA — All are invited to attend the Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial Celebration and Juneteenth Festival on June 17-19. The City of Pittsburgh is celebrating it’s 200th year of incorporation, and will highlight this year’s celebration with a recognition of African American freedom and liberty throughout the United States (Juneteenth is the official holiday in the African Americans community celebrating the end of Slavery, generally held on June 19th each year).

The local organization, Stop the Violence-Pittsburgh, has organized the Juneteenth Event from June 17th-19th. Pittsburgh’s Juneteenth Festival is named in honor of one of the City’s foremost and prominent African American political leader, Martin R. Delany (1812-1885). Mr. Delany was a Abolitionist, Doctor, first Black admitted to Harvard Med School, Editor, Inventor and the first line Major of the U.S. Army, appointed by President Abraham Lincoln, who advocated African American nationalism and self-reliance.

One key event of the Juneteenth Festival will be a re-enactment of the 1870 Jubilee of Freemen Parade. The original Jubilee Parade was based on the ratification of the 15th Amendment granting African American males the Right to Vote. This original Parade was a national event organized by Leaders of Bethel AME Church, Rev. Lewis Woodson (abolitionist, organizer, nationalist, orator, mentor to Martin Delany and trustee-founder of Wilberforce College) and Rev. Henry H. Garnet (Civil Right Leader, Orator, Educator, first Black Pastor to conduct a prayer/speech to the U.S. Congress and founder of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church).

The re-enactment Parade will start on June 18th, 9am, with a memorial service at St. Benedict the Moor Church (91 Center Ave & Crawford street). The memorial service will be attended by Bishop McKinley Young, Third Episcopal District of AME Church and Parade-President of the Day, Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, Pa. Brigadier General Wilbur E. Wolf III, the Honorable Joseph B. Jefferson, Most Worshipable Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge, retired-Airforce Colonel Paul G. Patton, Chairman Emeritus of the POISE Foundation, Lenwood O. Sloan, Catalytic Agent, Pa. State Rep. Jake Wheatley, Samuel W. Black, President-Association of African American Museums and Director of African American Programs for the Heinz History Center, U. S. Congressman Mike Doyle, the Henry H. Garnet Association, City Councilman R. Daniel LaVelle, Rev. Dr. Steven Jackson, Bethel AME Church, Brandon Flood and the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus. The Parade Procession will start at Freedom Corner (Crawford street and Center avenue), down Center avenue, to Grant street, on to the Blvd of the Allies, to Stanwix Street and Third Avenue. At 1pm, the Program starts with a commemorative and wreath laying service for U.S. Civil War hero Alexander Kelly at the Martin R. Delany historic marker (3rd avenue & Market street).

Current Out-of-Town Participants in the re-enactment Parade are:

1. The 28th Infantry Division of U.S. Army (oldest serving Division in U.S. Army); 2. 3rd & 6th Regiment Infantry Divisions of USCT Re-enactors; 3. The First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary Unit (oldest Calvary Unit in U.S. Army); 4. Brigadier General Wilbur E. Wolf, Director Joint Staff, JFHQ PA National Guard/Deputy Commanding General (ARNG) USAlCoE and Fort Huachuca; 5. The Pa. Legislative Black Caucus; 6. Wilberforce College; 7. Cheyney State; 8. Pittsburgh Chapter African American Alumni Association; 9. Lincoln University; 10. The American Legion; 11. The National Black MBA Association; 12. Delta Sigma Theta; 13. The National Association of Negro Women; 14. Cadre of Colonels lead by retired U.S. Air-force Colonel Paul G. Patton (Va.) and retired U.S. Army Colonel Eugene F. Scott (Ill); 15. The Links, Inc.; 16. Members of the National Black Mayors Association.; 17. the American Friends Society (Quakers); 18. National Federation of Black Vets; 19. The Women’s Missionary Society of the AME Church; 20. National Presbyterian Black Caucus; 21. Tuskegee Airmen Association; 22. AME Church’s Third Episcopal District (Ohio, WV and Pennsylvania); 23. Pa. Past Players and 24. The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

Special programs for the Festival include:

* June 17th: Black Tie Honors Gala at the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom in Station Square, with celebrity host actress Vivica A. Fox;

* June 18th: 3pm-4pm 1,000 Ministers Strong Interfaith Program and national Rock-the-Vote non-partisan registration drive in Market Square with invited guest Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, SC Governor Nikki Haley, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, Allegheny County Democratic Black Caucus and others; 5pm, Stop the Violence Program with Pa. State Rep. Ed Gainey, brother of Janese Talton-Jackson, family members of victims at Mother Emanuel AME Church and family members of victims in Wilkinsburg, Pa.;

* June 18th: Historic Past Players Performance and Panel Discussion (Jane Chester, Lydia Hamilton Smith, Francis Harper, Thaddeus Stevens, William Goodrich, Basil Biggs, Octavio Catto and Henry H. Garnet) 6p-8pm at Bethel AME Church; June 19th, 9am-11am, Founders Day Service with AME Church, National Black Presby Caucus, Metropolitan Baptist Church and the Most Worshipable Prince Hall Masonic Lodge; 1pm-6pm, Gospel In the Square and 1000 Black Fathers-Fathers Day Program in Market Square.


Time periods for all festivities in Market Square are 1pm-8pm on June 18th-19th. Market Square activities include: Kids-Fun-Zone, Live Bands, Drill Teams, Speakers, DJ’s, Vendors (Food & Specialty Items), Singers, Resource Tables, Culture Dance troupes and more.

For more details about the event, visit www.PittsburghBlackLegacy.com

To become a supporter or sponsor of Pittsburgh’s 2016 Juneteenth Festival, call 724-205-9376 or send an email to StoptheViolencePgh@yahoo.com


William Marshall