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June 19, 2013

New Albany celebrates end of slavery during inaugural Juneteenth festival



Obviously a landmark day in black history, Juneteenth is a reminder to the black community to claim its identity and learn from the past, he continued. 

But he added all cultures can learn something from Juneteenth. 

In the future, organizers of the event hope to bring other Southern Indiana cities such as Jeffersonville and Clarksville into the mix. 

Ann Carruthers said it’s always important to take part in shaping the lives of children in a positive way. 

“We have to catch our young people right now because they’re young and they need people to be mentors to them,” she said. 

In addition to the parade, exhibits, games and live music were offered at the Kathy Wilkerson/Griffin Street Recreation Center. 

A traditional “poor folks” supper consisting of chicken, collard greens and cornbread was served for senior citizens, and an ice cream social was also held. 

The River Institute Traveling Drama Team from Hanover College performed “Nothing Stops this Train” for the kids, as the drama was based on the Underground Railroad. 

New Albany is linked to the Underground Railroad — which is one of several moments in the city’s past worth revisiting, Shawn Carruthers said. 

“New Albany has a wealth of history — history that young people tend to overlook,” he said. 

Ann Carruthers added that Tuesday’s celebration allowed children to learn about the past in a real yet positive way. 

“We don’t have to incorporate the negative parts of history to tell them about history,” she said. 

The spirit of Juneteenth is the celebration of all cultures and their importance to society, Mayor Jeff Gahan said. 

“I think it’s exciting that our parks department took the time to put together what’s really a strong program,” he said. “It’s kind of a reminder that New Albany is a community of openness and inclusiveness.” 

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