TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A little more than a month from now Terre Haute will be packed with thousands of people. This is all to celebrate the federal holiday Juneteenth.
Juneteenth takes place on Sunday, June 19. It’s a federal holiday that represents the end of slavery in the nation. Here in Terre Haute, preparations are already on the way for the celebration.
That whole weekend different events will take place. Events like Terre Haute day will happen on that Saturday, June 18. One of the founders, Theo Morgan, says it’s all about bringing people together.
“I just want people to come home and celebrate what Terre Haute used to be,” he said. “When I grew up in Terre Haute it was about family community and getting together.”
There will be things like bike giveaways, live music, free food, various activities and more.
The other founder of Terre Haute Day is Daniel Shouse. He shares the deeper meaning of the federal holiday Juneteenth.
“It’s a celebration of our freedom and of our emancipation as a culture, so Juneteenth to us means history tradition, it means integrity and overcoming obstacles in life,” he said.
The fun activities kick off on June 17 at Charlies, but the night before there will be the Pitch Black Competition. This is a time for inspiring black business owners to compete for help to start their own businesses.
Courtney Chipol is with the West Central Indiana Small Business Development Center. She’s also a co-founder of Terre Haute Day.
“Entrepreneurship is one thing that when you walk into a lot of local businesses and you meet the owner, we don’t have a lot of black-owned businesses where our youth get to experience that and I think that a lot of times in every field you have to see yourself in that field, see others in that field before you can see it as a path for yourself,” she said.
And on Sunday, June 19, the Vigo County Historical Museum and a local historian will educate folks on seven African Americans from Terre Haute who did extraordinary things.
They will honor people like Willa Brown who was the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States. This will also include seven skits that make up a historic production.
“We are having a tour of all the different exhibits that deal with the African American experience in Terre Haute,” Crystal Reynolds (PhD), a local historian, said. “For me everything is local, I like to keep things local so things associated with African Americans in Terre Haute.”
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