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First Juneteenth Celebration held at Atkins-Surrency Playground in Reidsville
JoAnn Anderson and Emily Murphy enjoy sitting in the shade at Atkins-Surrency Playground during the celebration.
JoAnn Anderson and Emily Murphy enjoy sitting in the shade at Atkins-Surrency Playground during the celebration.

Atkins-Surrency Playground in Reidsville was the site of the very first Tattnall County community-wide celebration of the Juneteenth holiday on Saturday, June 18, 2022. 

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The holiday was first celebrated in Galveston, Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. 

Juneteenth is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day. This became a federal holiday in Texas in 1980 and Georgia in 2021. It is now a paid federal holiday in Georgia, as of April 2022 when Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 1335. 

An awesome time was had by all in attendance because there was literally something for everyone of all ages to enjoy. The celebration came about at the request of Renae Haynes, who helped form a committee for the event. 

The committee decided that this year’s event would be held in Reidsville and will rotate on an annual basis in other cities in the county. This year’s committee members, who did a lot of the planning and hard work for the successful celebration, are: Gladys Jackson of Collins, Angie Costen of Collins, Frances Byrd of Cobbtown, Rondale Harvey of Glennville, Emily Murphy of Glennville, Micah King of Glennville, Ricky Arthur of Glennville, JoAnn Anderson of Glennville, Renae Haynes of Mannassas, Verdie King of Reidsville, Barbara Johnson of Reidsville, and Trai Williams of Augusta (formerly of Tattnall County). 

A variety of entertainment was on hand with gospel singing by The Cousins, Reidsville Onassis and Ferdinand Clay, Micheal and Matthew Beal, and Chancey Williams. The sound system was provided by Pastor Derrick Ryals of Glennville. Minister Trai Williams was the Master of Ceremony. 

Spirit of Cheer performers of Vidalia performed a historical skit and provided some significant information. The Mime Team, consisting of the Youth of Greater Zachariah of Glennville, also entertained the crowd. Collins Church of God’s youth department also did a skit, and Megan Bryant of Reidsville sang a rendition of Wade in the Water took the imagination to a different era. 

There were door prizes given away; winners of the cornhole tournament were: Marquay Mobley and Ben Anderson (1st Place) and Skyler Bacon and Herman Lovett (2nd Place). 

The committee would like to give a special thanks to the free vendors that were on hand: 

Southeast Heath District

Communication Outreach

Share Health of Southeast Georgia (Health Information)

Novella’s Corner (free books, chips, and juice)

Reidsville Public Library (Free books)

Other vendors in attendance were: 

McKensie Jordan (Homemade jewelry and lemonade)

Kimberly Murphy (Naomi’s Creative Designs and Apparel)

Tina McFarland (Be-Dazzled BEADS jewelry)

Earnest Armstrong of New Horizons Community Outreach and The Pit (Fried ribs and chicken)

LeAnn Bradley (Laundry Bundles)

Heavenly Creations Arts and Crafts

Cedric Bacon (Game Troopers)

Collins Church of God (Pizza and Icecream)

Stephanie Mainer (NeNwe’s Bling Paparazzi)

Phyllis Gaffney (Treasure’s Place Soulfood)

Renae Haynes (Gifted Hands doorhangers)

Bennie Haynes (BenNae’s foodtruck)

James Hall (Fruits, jams, and peanuts)

The committee would like to thank the following:

City of Reidsville Water and Sewer Department (Rodney DeLoach and Staff)

Reidsville Police Department Chief Stacey Wilds

Reidsville Mayor Curtis Colwell

Kiwanis Club

Pastor Derrick Ryals

Minister Trai Williams

King and Sons of Glennville

St. Matthew Lodge of Reidsville