‘Muckteenth’ online party highlights holiday in Glades

BELLE GLADE — There was a Juneteenth celebration of a different style here in the Glades for the undeclared American holiday of June 19 — which much of the nation’s population seemed unaware of before 2020. They called it “Muckteenth Virtual Juneteenth.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
BELLE GLADE — Moiro Konchella sings the Negro National Anthem during the “Muckteenth”-flavored celebration of Juneteenth in the Glades.

The traditional rituals of marking the day when freedom rang in 1865 and Union troops finally reached the far-flung slave colonies of west Texas to inform them they were free after the Civil War ended, were put on in an online forum for this coronavirus-scarred year. Of course, attention was and has been intensified by recent violence involving African American victims and law enforcement officers.

Thousands of people already have watched and listened to what the organizers said was “A Virtual Juneteenth Celebration that’s Educating, Honouring & Connecting Muck City to its Past, Present & Future.”

Organizers formed committee
Former Belle Glade City Commission candidate Robert C. Mitchell was one of them, and he emailed and posted Facebook announcements so spread the word about what a special committee’s members were planning a few days prior. Several others joined in, produced the messages and music and/or carried the livestreamed, online presentation — Steve Messam, Edward H. Tucker and Colin Walkes (former mayor of Pahokee) among them.

The hourlong presentation is available on Mr. Messam’s Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/smessam15/videos/

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
BELLE GLADE — Celebrity recording artist “Major” gives a brief motivational address during the remembrance proceedings online June 19.

It starts out with a gospel soundtrack and contains much impassioned preaching, motivational speaking and acknowledging of culture and history, interspersed among bits of preaching and prayer.

Mr. Mitchell presented what their Muckteenth Committee called “Special Awards to Pillars in Muck City, for Belle Glade, Pahokee and South Bay.

“Representing Belle Glade are Willie Pyfrom, Cartheda Mann and our graduating senior Patriana Vickers,” said one of his posts.

‘Major’ sends his magic mojo
There were guest singers such as Muck City’s own Moiro Konchella Poole, who sang the National Negro Anthem, and a special shout-out and message from celebrity singer “Major.”

Also, recognition was given to the community group “COBY” (Cry Of Black Youth), recently formed in the Muck City (Tri-City) area.

Mr. Mitchell said: “This event is hosted by myself and several other productive leaders from the community. This is the first project we are all working together, and the acknowledgment portion of our Pillars/Pioneers was an idea I brought as well as a special message from the celebrity recording artist Major (my friend and fraternity brother). … Happy MuckTeenth to you!”

About the committee, he added: “This is the team of community leaders who came together for the first time: Colin Walkes, Steve Messam, Edward Tucker, Annie Ifill, Barbara King, Patrick Ferguson and Tyrone Hanna. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the group. We worked like a brand new BMW! It’s a breath of fresh air.”

Mr. Mitchell and the committee also wanted to acknowledge their “Pillars/ Pioneer Honorees”: for Belle Glade, Willie R. Pyfrom and Cartheda Mann; for Pahokee, Henry Crawford and ‘The One and Only’ (her phrase) Elsie L. Singletary; for South Bay, Jerry Thomas and Vernita Cox; graduating seniors, Patriana Vickers, Glades Central Community High School Class of 2020; and Takaili Wilson, Pahokee High School.”

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