SUMMER IN COMO: Juneteenth

Thursday, June 21, 2012 | 2:58 p.m. CDT; updated 6:55 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 21, 2012

Editor's note: Missourian reporter Pavan Vangipuram has embarked on a venture to showcase the ways that summer is spent in Columbia.

A videographer, Pavan plans to cover picnics and concerts, day camps, swim meets and more. The purpose is to reveal how the range of activities mirrors the diverse interests in the community.

We call it "Summer in CoMo." Watch for more of his videos in the weeks ahead.

COLUMBIA — Columbia residents celebrated Juneteenth on June 16 and 17 in Douglass Park, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States. Classic Southern barbecue was the fare of the day, as children and adults played basketball, swam and listened to music.

"It's a celebration of our freedom," said Nicholas Forster of Columbia. "It's about African American culture, but anyone can participate."

In addition to a basketball tournament, talent show and a "battle of the barbershops," this year's Juneteenth also featured an art exhibit. Major themes included African American achievement in American history and a plea to reduce violence among inner-city youth.

"We're here to give kids something productive to do, so they're not getting in trouble," Foster said.

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