The Richard Allen Coalition will host its annual Juneteenth celebration Saturday, June 18, at the Richard Allen School, 316 S. Railroad Ave., Georgetown.
Led by the Buffalo Soldiers, a parade will begin at 10 a.m. and will travel through downtown Georgetown, recalling the troops who came to Galveston, Texas, to give the resident slaves the news of their freedom. Participants will proceed to the grounds of the Richard Allen School.
Beginning at 11 a.m., the program will include presentations on the history of the school from local residents who attended it; skits and renditions of the Motown sound from Possum Point Players members; performances by the Nanticoke Indian Tribe Dancers, the Sussex Community Choir, and area resident ventriloquist Ken Huff with Mr. Goodwood; along with remarks from Delaware legislators.
Various vendors will be selling food and merchandise. Many service organization representatives will be on site to share information. Every attendee will receive a welcome bag and the the chance to win one of many available door prizes.
More than 20 years ago, Delaware Juneteenth Association founder Bernie Wilkins began his campaign to have Delaware pass legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday. His dream was fulfilled last year when the Delaware Legislature passed the bill and Gov. John Carney signed it into law Oct. 27, 2021, declaring June 19 a Delaware state holiday. Wilkins passed away Dec. 31, 2021.
For the past seven years, the Richard Allen Coalition has also celebrated Juneteenth. With the exception of the two years when COVID prevented the gathering on the streets, a parade has been held in Georgetown.
Richard Allen School has been recognized by the State of Delaware as a historic site and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was one of the schools built by Pierre S. du Pont in the 1920s to ensure quality education for Black youth throughout Delaware. Richard Allen was an enslaved person who lived in Sussex County and drove wagonloads of salt to the Valley Forge encampment. The money he received was used to purchase his freedom.
To learn more, go to richardallenschoolgeorgetown.com.