MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Juneteenth will be observed in Martinsburg Sunday at events from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Part of the commemoration will take place at the Martinsburg Shopping Plaza, 525 Winchester Avenue in Martinsburg and will feature special music and dance performances as well as
an historical interpretation by Doris Fields portraying legendary blues singer Bessie Smith.

Organizer Helen Harris will be among the speakers.

She tells the Panhandle News Network she has learned a lot about the history of the day, which marks the time two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and declared black people were free no matter what location in the country they resided.

Prior to that, some areas that had been part of the Union were not legally compelled to recognized blacks as free.

Harris and her husband Leonard will also be leading tours of the historic Sumner-Ramer Memorial School in Martinsburg:

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