Spartanburg Juneteenth Mission
Spartanburg Juneteenth Inc.'s mission is to educate the Spartanburg community about African American history primarily through an annual Juneteenth celebration.
Overview of Juneteenth
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the civil war had ended—freeing the last large population of enslaved people. Throughout the country, annual celebrations now commemorate this day of emancipation. Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. It is our intention to continue this tradition in Spartanburg.
Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. is a South Carolina nonprofit corporation organized to educate the Spartanburg community about African American history primarily through an annual Juneteenth celebration. Our constituency is the broader Spartanburg Community with a particular focus on African American and under-served communities. This particular focus makes it unique among the City’s festivals. The City of Spartanburg has a majority African American population but its cultural offering does not reflect this fact. The festival itself is located at Mary H. Wright Elementary School.
The goal of Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. is to celebrate the incredible achievement of a people who have shed the bonds of slavery and progressed to the greatest halls of power all within the span of 152 years. Through educational exhibits and inspiring artists along with food and fellowship, Spartanburg Juneteenth will provide a platform to celebrate the community’s rich history. This event will teach and inspire future generations to build an even greater future.
The 2018 Spartanburg Juneteenth will be held Saturday June 16th at Mary H. Wright Elementary School from 9am- 6pm. It will include (1) a South Carolina BBQ Association sponsored competition, (2) a historical presentation about the history of Juneteenth and the Civil Right Movement, (3) a gospel choir competition, (4) games and activities for children, and (5) artistic performances relating to emancipation and African American culture.
The artists that perform at Spartanburg Juneteenth have particular significance. These artists use spoken word and poetry, inspirational dance, and lyrics to song and rhyme to highlight injustice and needed change in communities of color. Their performances leave lasting impressions on those who attend the celebration.
Our Partnerships and Following
Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. has partnered with the City of Spartanburg, the Spartanburg Housing Authority, Piedmont Community Action, and local churches in order to maximize its outreach to the community. Due to these partnerships, admittance to the celebration, along with all attractions (including food), is free. This allows everyone to be able to enjoy the artistry and the educational exhibits without obstacle.
Spartanburg Juneteenth has a strong following. Year 2017 will host its 4th annual celebration. Past celebrations were done on a smaller scale but consistent turnout and interest has prompted the celebration to have a larger footprint within the community. The community’s dedication to this event demonstrates the necessity for a Juneteenth Celebration.
Both private and government entities have agreed to support Spartanburg Juneteenth in both monetary and in-kind contributions. The Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce, private law firms, the Hub City Writers’ Project, and Spartanburg School District 7 have all committed resources to making Spartanburg Juneteenth a success. Collaboration of this magnitude demonstrates Spartanburg’s commitment and recognition of the importance of this festival.
Our Board and Volunteers
The leadership of Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. has a special blend of community ties, experience, and raw dedication to make it a success. The Board of Directors includes: Monier Abusaft, Esq., Brittany Scott Esq., and former District 31 State Representative, Brenda Lee Pryce. Each board member has both past and present experience in leadership positions for other non-profit and philanthropic organizations. They have experience in fundraising, marketing, mobilizing and organizing events. Last year, these members were able to gain community partnerships to secure funds and resources, attract media attention, and connect grassroots organizations to one another.
Beyond the Board, Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. has the necessary support staff to successfully host the celebration. Through our partnership with the City, Parks and Recreations provides its staff and mobile play trucks. Additionally, Spartanburg Juneteenth Inc. has successfully tapped into other volunteer groups that assist with the celebration each year to provide man-power and other in-kind contributions.
Our Funding & Sponsors
As previously noted, Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. has received strong support from outside sources. These sources include: $15,000 from the City of Spartanburg as a part of its hospitality tax grants, $1,500 pledged from other governmental entities, $3,000 pledged donations of food and books from Spartanburg School District 7, $200 from the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce, and $3,000 pledged from private law firms. Fundraising efforts will continue as the celebration draws near.
Advertisement will be one of the largest expenditures for Spartanburg Juneteenth, Inc. We will acknowledge all sponsors in all of our advertisements. These advertisements will include billboards, t-shirts, informational literature, and radio announcements. Our informational literature will be available at local churches, coffee shops, and retail stores. Last year, radio stations broadcasted live at our event and we aim to continue that this year. Our advertisement and marketing strategy will build each month beginning January 2017. Our goal is for the community to have ample notice and information about this event to increase attendance.
Last year, Spartanburg Juneteenth had roughly 300-400 attendees. We hope to reach 1000 this year. Beyond sheer numbers, we ultimately hope to leave the attendees with an appreciation and an awe of the history of African-Americans since emancipation.