Joy subsumes happiness. Joy is the far greater thing.
-- Desmond Tutu
It's hard to put into words. If we had to choose one word to describe what infused the atmosphere at the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration last Saturday, June 18, we would choose the word joy. From little children dancing in the street, to the African dance troupe telling stories with their bodies; from youth volunteers cheerfully performing their duties, to the 90+-year-olds sitting in the shade while taking in the festivities, feelings of warmth, fellowship, and delight were experienced everywhere. Some said it felt like a family reunion.
The first of its kind on Main Street, a celebration of African American history and culture, the day started and ended with ceremony, with prayer and music, music that made your heart soar to the heavens and music that made your body want to move to the beat. And the food! Barbecue, oxtail, fried fish, curried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cotton candy, ice cream, organic smoothies, to list only some of the delicacies served at the event. Nearly 70 vendors offered their wares, and there were historical exhibits and other educational offerings as well.
Thanks to those who shared photos and helped us capture some of the magic of this historic day: Robin Fields, Leon Williams, Suzanne Nadeau, Marsha Melkonian, MacKenzie Miller, Taryn Weaver, LaKeisha Bradshaw McIntosh, and the Fauquier County Juneteenth Committee.
Dr. Tyrone Champion, Juneteenth Committee Chair, welcomes everyone to the opening ceremony: “Please give applause for this great day that we celebrate freedom.”
Opening Prayer, Dr. Decker Tapscott: “Today we add our voices to the generations that have gone before us in giving thanks for the freedom [God] brought in the United States when legal slavery was ended.”
Opening Remarks, Town Councilman and Fauquier NAACP member Renard Carlos: “We are stronger together.”
Dr. Ellsworth Weaver, Karen White, Mike Logan, View Tree Lodge 142 and Barrie Newman receive recognition as founders of the event.
Karen Hughes White, Afro-American Historical Association (AAHA): “As we think of Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom, we must remember the nameless, the often invisible people in Fauquier’s pages of history, those who endured the separation of family and the institution of slavery." [The full text of Karen White's remarks is at the bottom of this page.]
Jasmine Morton, founder, Advocating for Justice and March for Black Lives, shares news of national BLM movements as well as two local efforts, the annual Black Lives Matter Marches and the Black Lives Matter Vigils for Action.
Beautiful music from the Faith Christian Praise Team.
Fauquier NAACP member Robin Fields sings a soul-stirring rendition of the Black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
Honoring Local Heroes: Karen Hughes White presents award to Pastor Moyer Foddrell.
The family of Robert Lionel Walker accepts posthumous award from Dr. Ellsworth Weaver.
Michelle Davis-Younger, 1st woman, 1st person of color elected as mayor of the City of Manassas: “This is partnership. This is sisterhood and brotherhood and I love to see this.”
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Ellsworth Weaver: “I’m bringing you this little bit of history so that we can take yesterday and work with today. Even though we have come a long ways in 157 years of freedom, we still have a long ways to go. Until America understands the real picture that has been painted by our history, it’s going to take a long time for some changes to take place…Get out and vote. Meet your local representatives. Do you know who represents you in Warrenton? In Fauquier County? In Richmond? In Washington?...Do we know what their agenda is as to how it impacts us?”
Smiling faces of tomorrow.
Who's that handsome couple? Renard and Lea Carlos!
Fauquier NAACP members Dr. Ethel Canty Bothuel and Marsha Melkonian.
Chihamba African Dance Troupe.
Sweet Potato Pie contest.
Juneteenth Committee member Joe Washington gives Committee chair Dr. Tyrone Champion a lift.
"...Summer's here and the time is right
For dancing in the street..."
Suzanne Nadeau, Marsha Melkonian, and Kim Gibson at the Fauquier NAACP booth.
Gail Jeffries, LaKeisha Bradshaw McIntosh, and Debra Copeland.
Chuck Wilkers and son showing us where they live in Fauquier County. What's the land you live on zoned for? Are you aware that the nation is experiencing a housing crisis? Homes affordable to the average person are becoming harder and harder to find. Affordable homes for all is a focus of the work of the Fauquier NAACP.
Tiana Minor and Robin Fields.
Harriet Tubman was spotted in the crowd!
So was the Black Panther!
Harriet (Taryn Weaver) with Fauquier NAACP and Juneteenth Committee member Joe Washington.
Harriet with Bob Mosier, former sheriff of Fauquier County, now Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Cindy Mosier, Harriet Tubman (Taryn Weaver), and Bob Mosier.
The Black Panther and Mike Fields.
The ladies of the Afro American Historical Association of Fauquier County.
Fauquier NAACP members Bob Copeland and Terry Owsley assist a vendor.
Greg Crowne, another hard-working Juneteenth volunteer.
Some of the folks at Oak View National Bank's booth. From left, Brenda Correa, Mike Ewing, customer Robert Chichester, and Rick Monahan.
From left, Oak View National Bank's Christine Corbett, Stephanie Bedow, Mike Ewing, Karington Smith, Jacq Timbers, Rick Monahan and Debbie Yancey.
Fauquier NAACP member Conway Porter spent the day at Poplar Fork Baptist Church's booth.
League of Women Voters
Hair Braiding contest:
Posters sharing local Black history could be found all along Main Street, courtesy of the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County.
Fauquier NAACP member Libbi Moore with daughter and mom, Sylvia McDevitt.
One of the many food trucks.
Exhibits at the Fauquier History Museum at the Old Jail:
The Story of Samuel Johnson.
A sad and sobering artifact from the past.
Madison's Barber Shop exhibit.
Fauquier NAACP member Scott Christian advertising the Children's Corner.
Adwela and The Uprising Reggae Band performs.
Felicia Champion shares the history of hair braiding in the African culture.
And the winner is...