HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The 20th annual Juneteenth celebration will be held Monday in Hannibal.
The event is part of the city's first Community Unity Year, which is an expanded version of last year's Community Unity Week. The weeklong celebration had educational and celebratory African-American events, and Community Unity Year has added events throughout 2017 and mainstay favorites like Juneteenth.
A 40-minute movie at 3 p.m. will open the event. B&B Theatre will show "The Children's March," which tells the story of how kids can make a difference through positive social change. Adults and youths in grades four through 12 are encouraged to attend.
After the movie will be a scavenger hunt on Main Street at 4 p.m. Questions to answer range from how many benches are on Main Street from B&B Theatre to Jim's Journey, 509 N. Third St., and who was assassinated on April 4, 1968?
If people don't know the answers to the questions, they can ask Main Street merchants for help. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded.
At 5 p.m., a soul food cooking demonstration of cooking greens and hot water corn bread and a cookout will close the celebration. Jim's Journey museum tours also will be available.
The events are free and open to the public.
"Come out for good food and a good time," Jim's Journey Executive Director Faye Dant said.
Hannibal's first Juneteenth celebration was in 1997. Dant said many community-minded people came together to organize the event. One supporter was Marsha Mayfield, who is an emeritus Kids in Motion founding board member.
"The festival has always served as a venue to educate and bring a multicultural purpose and feel to the community," she said. The purpose of the event, she added, is to educate, uplift and serve area youths.
Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, and commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas and the emancipation of African-American slaves, in general, throughout the Confederate South.
After President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves, many people fled to Texas with their slaves to escape compliance. More than two years after Lincoln signed the act, federal troops arrived in Texas that June day to enforce the freedom of slaves.