The Jackson County Youth Council of the local NAACP held a Juneteenth balloon release event last Friday near the Jackson County Courthouse.
Because of COVID-19 precautions it was not announced in advance, in order to limit the crowd size. Participants practiced social distancing and wore mask to further ensure safety.
The participants met at the Jackson County courthouse at noon, and heard a discussion of why Juneteenth is celebrated, to acknowledge the time frame when word of emancipation and slavery’s end reached the south. They also learned the history of the “hanging tree” on the grounds of the courthouse, where Claude Neal’s body was hanged in desecrated in 1934, and then released balloons as names of known lynching victims from around the area were read.
Editor’s note: In Jackson County, Mayday celebrations were held for many years in acknowledgement of emancipation, as word reportedly reached here a bit earlier than June, according to some in the community who took part in those events. Additionally, by a recent proclamation of the Jackson County Commission, Jackson County celebrates May as Freedom Month and May 20 as Emancipation Day.