Did you know Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States? The event dates back to 1865 in Galveston, Texas when June 19 was declared African American Emancipation Day. Today, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center honors this observance each year to reflect, rejoice and celebrate African American freedom.
Saturday, June 16, a day of musical artists, food trucks, living history characters and kids’ activities fill the day of celebration at the cultural center in the historic Ninth Street District, formerly Little Rock’s “Little Harlem” where black-owned business and attractions once lined the street’s corridor. In fact, make plans to learn more about the neighborhood by watching a screening of the documentary “Dreamland” featuring the historic Dreamland Ballroom once a hot spot to such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, B.B. King, Etta James, Duke Ellington and many more.
While there, tour the cultural center and learn of the Mosaic Templars of America founders and African American entrepreneurs and their many contributions to life in Arkansas. Because of its rich heritage and influence, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is one of six Little Rock sites along the 14-state U.S. Civil Rights Trail.