Moss Point residents celebrate their heritage at Juneteenth - - The News for South Mississippi

Moss Point residents celebrate their heritage at Juneteenth


By Jessica Bowman – email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Tradition and heritage flourished Saturday in Moss Point. The city hosted its inaugural Juneteenth Freedom and Heritage Festival at the Sue Ellen Recreation Center. Organizers said their goal was to reach out to children and teens, so they can understand the roots of their race.

As music filled the air, African American heritage shined on many famed faces such as Oprah Winfrey and legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson.

Daphne Viverette said, "Juneteenth is about the celebration of the freedom of the slaves by President Abraham Lincoln."

Daphne Viverette is the Community Development Department Administrator for the City of Moss Point. She said more than 70% of the city is predominately African American so it's very important to make history a part of the festival especially for the children.

"A knowledge base is the most important thing. They can come and learn and read about what people have done what and why it's so important that they realize that their race has made a contribution to America," said Daphne Viverette.

Robin Morris helped set up the history corner. She said this celebration of freedom has a place in her heart. Without knowing her true roots she would not be the person she is today.

"As a young kid I didn't really know what Juneteenth was. So I think that's very important that we start when the kids are young so they'll know what their ancestors have gone through to get them to the point and where they need to go and continue to grow," said Robin Morris.

Ankhet Hesi-ra also teamed up with the festival to show off vibrant pieces of material known as garbs.

"It's a modest way. It's not to have tight clothing or anything. It's modest and beautiful wear. They wear a head dress and that's part of our history and culture as well," said Ankhet Hesi-ra.

Viverette said by allowing people of the community to read and see items from their ancestors it draws them closer to their true heritage.

Daphne Viverette said, "I'm sure it will instill pride in them to let them know what made America what it is today."

Organizers said Juneteenth will continue every year in Moss Point so the community will have the chance to become educated on the freedom from slavery.

The event was made possible through the City of Moss Point Community Development and Parks and Recreation Department along with local partnerships throughout the city.  

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