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County to Present Four Living Legends Awards at Juneteenth Celebration

June 14, 2017

Montgomery County’s 21st Annual Juneteenth Celebration is on Friday, June 16 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. Doors open at 6 p.m. and seating is limited.

   This year’s celebration will include the presentation of the Third Annual African American Living Legend Award to historian and community activist Christine Clarke, education administrator and mentor Wilma K. Holmes, fair housing and education advocate Ruby S. Rubens, and human service and political pioneer Odessa M. Shannon.

   “All four honorees are distinguished individuals who have dedicated their lives to service, advocacy and selfless acts of kindness to their community,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett, who selected the recipients for special recognition. “Our County benefits greatly from their commitment to social justice.” 

   In addition to the awards ceremony, there will be a special production of “Harriett Tubman: Defender,” a one-woman show performed by Eunice Lewis Seagraves and written and directed by Dr. Percy W. Thomas of Heralds of Hope Theater. The program will also feature Ronnie Diamond Hoard, former lead singer and guitarist for the classic soul/funk band Ohio Players. Medal-winning instrumentalists and singers from the Montgomery County Branch NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) will perform as well.

   The program will conclude with the film “Hidden Figures,” the inspiring true story of three African American women mathematicians whose contributions were a vital part of the success of the early years of the United States space program.

   Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union Major General Gordon Granger announced that slavery had ended in Galveston, Texas, one of the last outposts of slavery in the United States. This marked one of critical steps in the full implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.

   The County’s 21st Annual Juneteenth Celebration is being coordinated by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights and the County Executive’s African American Advisory Group.

   Admission is free and a traditional Juneteenth barbeque dinner will be served following the program. For more information and to register for this special program, visit the website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights or call 240-777-8490.

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