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Local History

First Juneteenth

"The first Juneteenth celebration in Springfield happened June 14, 1997. The event was sponsored by the NAACP and drew a crowd interested in exploring both the association and the historic event. Juneteenth celebrations are common in other communities, particularly in the Deep South, according to Arthur Hodge.

"'I think it’s sad that most blacks here are ignorant of their history,' said Arthur Hodge, local vice president of the NAACP and coordinator for the Juneteenth celebration. Hodge, a native of Mississippi lived in Springfield for 10 years and he and some of his friends talked about holding a Juneteenth event for some time.

"Regina Rogers, a Kansas City native attending SMS, always goes to the Juneteenth celebrations in Kansas City. 'I think events like this unify the black community, that we realize what brought us together in the first place,' she said."

The image above accompanied the article. The Rev. Isaac J. Jenkins (left) chats with friend Francis Tandle (center) before a picnic at Silver Springs Park.
News-Leader June 15, 1997

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