Tributes, dances, poetry fill the Juneteenth program in Hendersonville


Tributes, dances, poetry, songs and more were part of the Juneteenth Freedom 2022 program on Saturday, which was well attended inside the Kaplan Auditorium at the Henderson County Public Library, according to the event organizer Crystal Cauley with the Black History Collective of Henderson County.

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, enslaved black people in Galveston, Texas learned that they were finally free. The day has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s.

YaShara Lynch performs at the Juneteenth Freedom 2022 program Saturday at the Henderson County Public Library.

Saturday’s program included YaShara Lynch singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and the message of hope delivered by Hendersonville insurance agent Diana Casteel. The afternoon included a sketch performance by Indian Jackson and his son, Donald Black with rendition of the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes. Cauley paid a “Say Their Name” tribute, honoring black people whose deaths have been mourned and protested nationwide in recent years, including George Floyd, Tamir Rice, Patrick Loyola and Eric Garner.

The Carolina Diva Diamondz has performed with Jewel Ward, Jenna Emilie Jaffe, Linda Smith, Deborah Shelton-Ogiste and Cauley. The program was a repeat of Cauley’s “No Crystal Stair: The Evolutionary Struggle of the Black Woman”.

Diana Casteel speaks during the Juneteenth Freedom 2022 program Saturday at the Henderson County Public Library.

The audience watched a short video choreographed and filmed by Indian Jackson, titled “Ashes to Ashes”, which is spoken word poetry written and performed by Cauley. The dance and poetry honored all enslaved African Americans in Henderson County and asked listeners to pay attention to ‘unmarked’ graves while remembering the lives of the enslaved people who opened the way for future generations, according to Cauley.

Tiara Channer, 13, at Daddy D's Suber Soulfood in Hendersonville on Saturday.

The program included a Juneteenth-themed table by Tiara Channer with educational books, Juneteenth art, the official “Juneteenth Day” proclamation issued in 2021 by the City of Hendersonville, and the Juneteenth flag.

The program’s emcee was community leader Tynesha Carden. The artists celebrated with a reunion scheduled to support Daddy D’s Suber Soulfood in Hendersonville.

The next Juneteenth themed event will take place on Saturday, June 18 at 2 p.m. at Hands On! Children’s Museum. Deborah Shelton-Ogiste and Cauley will perform and have an interactive educational story hour.

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