Juneteenth Draws Thousands to Knoxville

Sign of the names of those who have died over the years was one of the signs at the rally. Photo by Vivian Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Caswell Park was filled with babies in strollers, young, old, black and white from Knoxville and surrounding areas filled the place. The rally, held from 6 pm – 8 pm with a march to follow was unlike anything Knoxville had ever seen before. Everything was donated and freely given to the people. Food from Black restaurants, water, and snacks were available for the asking. All around the sidewalk were places to register to vote and resources of all kinds. Many of the booths ran out of of the information they were handing out. People carried signs reminding everyone of the present threat to Black lives in 2020.

Family units were everywhere. Parents brought their children to learn and all over the ground history was being taught and revealed as many questioned why this was never in the history books. Masks were provided and sanitation supplies were set up all thru the park.

The holiday event, pulled together by activist Constance Every, celebrated the last of the slaves to be freed in 1865, was joyful and trouble-free. After hearing speakers, drums, songs and information on voting and the census; the crowd, estimated over 3,000 strong, moved onto Magnolia Avenue and Fifth Avenue for a 2 mile march that ended up back at the park as the sun slowly set over a fantastic, historic day.

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