NAACP seeks help in runup to Juneteenth
by Rachel Miller
May 26, 2013 12:00 AM | 3375 views | 6 6 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Marietta residents Larona Gore and her sister, Irene Parker, sing the African-American National Anthem for guests during the 2012 Juneteenth Celebration.
From left, Marietta residents Larona Gore and her sister, Irene Parker, sing the African-American National Anthem for guests during the 2012 Juneteenth Celebration.
MARIETTA — The Cobb NAACP is inviting everyone to take part in this summer’s Juneteenth celebration as a vendor, entertainer or volunteer and not just as an observer.

In March, the organization started handing out 5,000 postcards with information about the weekend of activities surrounding Juneteenth, which starts June 14 with an Evening Under the Stars concert from 7 to 11 p.m. at Glover Park on the Square.

The festival is June 15, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will close down parts of North Park Square, East Park Square and Lawrence Street, and will coincide with the regular Saturday farmers market during the morning.

This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary, which Cobb County NAACP President Deane

Bonner said the event started with 300 to 400 people in attendance and 5 to 10 vendors the first year. From those humble beginnings, the event has grown into an expectation of 15,000 to 20,000 people on the Square for this year’s event, along with 100 vendors.

“Now we know we have a success,” Bonner said.

Bonner said the community sees the importance of the only Juneteenth celebration in Cobb County, and as one of the biggest in the metro Atlanta area. It throws a spotlight on Marietta.

“They know it is going to be positive, they know it is going to be safe, they know it is going to be rewarding,” Bonner said.

Tent sale and volunteers

A weekly planning committee met Thursday at the local branch of the NAACP off of Barnes Street, at 605 Roswell St., where a dozen members created plans for coordinating traffic and discussed progress on applications from performers, as well as food and retail booths.

Jeriene Grimes, a vice president of the Cobb County Chapter of the NAACP, said she expects to have 30 volunteers working two-hour blocks the day of the event, with an additional 20 to 30 students supplied by Cobb Works.

“You will work real hard at the beginning until we get kicked off,” Grimes said to the organizers.

Mattie Small said she has been a Juneteenth volunteer since the beginning, and as a vice president of the Cobb NAACP she helps anywhere that she is needed throughout the entire day.

“I will be there until it is all over to help clean up,” said Mattie, who normally arrives to setup at 7 a.m. Saturday.

In the past, merchants at Juneteenth provided their own tents and paid a $75 registration. For the first time this year, Elite Event Rentals is providing identical tents to each vendor, which raised the fee to $150, said Grimes.

She said the uniformity will help load sellers in and out of the spaces without the hassle of piecing together tent poles and keep merchants from encroaching on another space.

Grimes advised the planning committee to find something that is unique and specific, like a booth last year that only sold slices of watermelon for $2.

“They made a killing,” Grimes said.

Small is normally a vendor with two tents, one offering dessert specialties and one with fashion accessories. But this year, Small said she is focusing on the joy of serving.

“Remember to do everything with excellence and with a smile,” Grimes said at Thursday’s gathering.

That’s entertainment

Bonner said because of the bad economy the Cobb County NAACP asked local church congregations to attend Juneteenth and support local vendors, who have been told to keep offerings at an affordable range.

Grimes said there will be a children’s area with a moonwalk, plus complimentary popcorn and face painting.

Like in past years, free bottled water will be available through a sponsorship with Coca-Cola Co. and WellStar will administer health screenings, said Bonner.

She added, for the first time, the Friday night program will be entirely sponsored by one business, Ed Voyles Honda.

“Those are the partnerships that have made this grow,” Bonner said.

This year’s Juneteenth will be more decorated than in past years with balloon towers at the information center and stage, Grimes said.

Bonner said Saturday performers don’t have to be professionals.

“If your daughter sings in church, sign her up to fill a slot,” Bonner said.

Grimes said the line-up for An Evening Under the Stars is more adult-orientated.

“Friday night, people come looking for a little bit above,” Grimes said.

Next week, Grimes said she will start rehearsals of a dance routine for a 100-person flash mob.

“I enlisted the help of a Zumba instructor,” Grimes said.

She added the group will do an impromptu performance on the Square June 1 to promote Juneteenth and then again during the event “as something different to spark interest.”


“We have Juneteenth to be on the Marietta Square in large numbers,” Bonner said. “You are going to see the diversity of Cobb County.”

Juneteenth celebrations across the U.S. commemorate the end of slavery, and Bonner said it is important for future generations to know the history of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Grimes said it is a time “to celebrate where we are, and how we have advanced as a nation of people of all hues.”

Bonner said organizing the event each year has helped solidify a partnership between Cobb Elections and the local NAACP.

Their combined booth gives participants a chance to register to vote or join the Cobb NAACP, which currently has 200 members.

Bonner said both political parties are represented at Juneteenth, but this is the first year for the League of Women Voters and American Association of University Women.

Cobb NAACP discourages candidates for the upcoming city elections from passing out material at Juneteenth unless they have rented a space. So far, only mayoral candidate Charles Levinson has signed up for a tent, said Grimes.

Grimes notes that Juneteenth is “not a forum for race discussion,” but a peaceful event to show cultural unity without any crime or security concerns.

There is no beer, wine or liquor options available from Juneteenth vendors.

“That wasn’t a desire of ours,” Grimes said.

She added, “We want every age, race and creed to come out and have a great time.”
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Just Wondering
May 28, 2013
What is the African-American National Anthem?

Are we now going tohave a national Anthem for every race and ethnic group. It's no wonder this county is falling apart. too much division. Seems tome the folks who suffered from predjudice in the past now are the racist's
Sharon J. Hill
June 11, 2013
To be clear, there has always been a Negro National Anthem (Black/African-American). Mostly performed in separate Negro-Colored-Black-African American assemblies. Which begs to differ your summation on the country's division. The clear history of slavery with Master and slave is evident of division from the beginning on to "White Only" and separate dining areas. No, wait, no dining areas, food handed outside the back door among other atrocities including being called names...Respect and honor of heritage is all any national or immigrant has to hold on to and is what makes this country as rich in culture as it is today. As it to be forgiven but not forgotten, yes is a continual healing process and is in dire need of empathy.

Thank you for being the difference to holding to high esteem, America the beautiful melting pot as one...we provide however, the following for your information: (Ref. Wikipedia)

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" was publicly performed first as a poem as part of a celebration of Lincoln's Birthday on February 12, 1900, by 500 school children at the segregated Stanton School. Its principal, James Weldon Johnson, wrote the words to introduce its honored guest Booker T. Washington. The poem was later set to music by Johnson's brother John in 1905.

In 1939, Augusta Savage received a commission from the World's Fair and created a 16-foot plaster sculpture called Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing which was destroyed by bulldozers at the close of the fair.[1]

In Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the song is sung by the audience and students at Maya's eighth grade graduation, after a white school official dashes the educational aspirations of her class.[2]

In 1990, singer Melba Moore released a modern rendition of the song, which she recorded along with others including R&B artists Anita Baker, Stephanie Mills, Dionne Warwick, Bobby Brown, Stevie Wonder, Jeffrey Osborne, and Howard Hewett; and gospel artists BeBe & CeCe Winans, Take 6, and The Clark Sisters, after which, "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" was entered into the Congressional Record by Del. Walter Fauntroy (D-DC),.[3]

In 2008, jazz singer Rene Marie was asked to perform the national anthem at a civic event in Denver, Colorado, where she caused a controversy by substituting the words of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" into the song. This arrangement of the words of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" with the melody of "The Star Spangled Banner" became part of the titular suite on her 2011 CD release, "The Voice of My Beautiful Country".[4]

On January 20, 2009, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who was formerly president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, used a near-verbatim recitation of the song's third stanza to begin his benediction at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.


Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn, had died;

Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet,

Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come, over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;

Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,

Thou Who hast brought, us thus far on, the way;

Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet, stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.

Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.

Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,

True to our God, true to our native land.[5]
tired of it
May 26, 2013
African-American National anthem? I thought we were americans? We are americans no matter what our ancestry are? President Roosevelt made a speach when he was president, that as long as African american, Asian American and ect is before american this country will be divided and that is exactly what has happened. This country will always be divided until we come together as AMERICANS>
Sharon J Hill
June 11, 2013
From your lips to the Supremacists ears and hearts...
May 26, 2013
Sounds like a good reason to stay home.
GA Peach
June 02, 2013
So rude!!
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