BY LOUIS C. WARD
LEESBURG – The Legacy African American Culture Club (LAACC) has arrived at the 55-year-old retirement community on US HWY 27 in Leesburg, Florida.
It landed with a very informative program that included tasty foods and exciting fellowship Monday, June 19, which is the Juneteenth holiday.
Legacy residents who wanted to bring African American culture and history to their community were responsible for starting the LAACC.
The event included a poetry reading by 9-year-old Daniel Louis Ward, presentations on the Rosenwald Schools, and the Royal Community. Presentations were made by Charles Fields of the Okahumpka Community Organization and Zelma Jenkins respectively.
Exhibits on the Tuskegee Airmen, the Ocoee and Rosewood massacres, and author Joan Merritt’s book, “The Color of Sandy”.
“The purpose of creating the LAACC was to bring African Americans in our community together by having a program that recognized our rich culture and history,” said Lillian Lockette, a Legacy resident and a founding member of the LAACC.
“We received a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the event, saying, ‘How good it was to see something focus on Juneteenth and our culture’,” continued Ms. Lockette, who also said the cultural foods, like red velvet cake, a red colored drink, collard greens, peas and rice, fried chicken, and creamalicious ice cream enhanced celebrating the historical event.
“I liked reading the official Juneteenth poem for the program. The food was very good, especially the sweet watermelon, and I had fun learning about Juneteenth,” said Daniel Louis Ward, a 9-year-old program participant.
Ms. Georgette said, “Everyone seemed to enjoy the interesting presentations on the history of Juneteenth and the Rosenwald schools.”
“Juneteenth, a holiday first commemorated in Texas, marks the date in 1865 when enslaved people were read federal orders freeing them under the terms of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.” It took three years for the African American people of Texas to find out that the war had ended and they were free.
President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in 2021, making it the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was added in 1983.
Founding members of the LAACC are Connie Guyton, Flossie Hurt, Zelma Jenkins, Benita LaMorrell, Lillian Lockette, and Sandra Westbrook.