William Marshall is the founder and CEO of a local organization called Stop the Violence-Pittsburgh that addresses killings and serious violence among teens and youth in the African American communities and provide services to family members of the victims of violent crime. “We bring together local groups and organizations to address these issues and provide a universal platform to illustrate to the communities the high-supportive services that are available inside Allegheny County,” he said in a press release about his organizing the Juneteenth celebration.
“2016 is Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial and I have been contacted by the Mayor of Pittsburgh about incorporating Our Community Awareness Day and Juneteenth Festival as part of the historical framework for the 200th anniversary.
In light of this request, we hosted a Juneteenth: Martin Delany Festival (June 17 thru 19) highlighting the contributions of African American Abolitionist and Pioneers who helped found and establish the City of Pittsburgh.”
One Program was a Re-enactment of the Pittsburgh “Jubilee of Freedom Parade.” The Original Parade was held on April 26, 1870, by Rev. Lewis Woodson and other Leaders of Bethel AME Church. This event was the first Parade ever held by FREE Blacks and Abolitionists in the United States.
The Parade was based on the Pennsylvania Legislature ratifying the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments to the U. S. Constitution (particularly the Right to Vote).
In support of this effort Samuel W. Black, director of African American Programs for the Heinz History Center, is the re-enactment historian and helped with this process. Director Black had Byron and Granville Woodson, descendants of Lewis Woodson and Granville T. Woodson who was part of the march in 1870, partake in the ceremonies.
Reverend Stephen Jackson, current-Pastor of Bethel AME Church, Pittsburgh is the lead for the National Congregations and invited area Pastors and Congregations and the Third District Bishop for appearance and made a general request for all National Church Congregations to attend.
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