Decades before Juneteenth was declared a United States federal holiday, a very special community celebration in mid-Missouri was taking shape.
Twenty-two years ago, Tim Jackman and members of his church were talking with their new pastor when they were asked if Fayette, Missouri had a Juneteenth celebration.
“We all looked at her and said, what’s that?” Jackman said. Of course, what she was talking about is what they knew to be Emancipation Day, another name for Juneteenth, the holiday that will in 2022 mark 157 years since the end of slavery in the U.S.
And with that, the Fayette Juneteenth Celebration began. Tim Jackman, who is President and CEO of Previsor Insurance, has been involved in the annual event in Fayette, Missouri ever since.
We asked Tim Jackman to tell us more about his involvement in this multi-day, multi-faceted celebration that draws a crowd of 600 to 800 each year. Missouri Employers Mutual sponsors the event each year.
“We’ve been told we have one of the biggest celebrations in the country because our celebration spans over several days,” Jackman said. “I’ve told people that it should be a pride point for us because it’s unique to what is going on in the rest of the country.”
Organized by St. Paul United Methodist Church in Fayette, the event has many community partners, including the local Rotary Club, City of Fayette, Howard County, and a group called Fayette Together of which Jackman serves as chairperson.
Jackman volunteers more than 100 hours each year for the event.
What do you want people to know about the Fayette Juneteenth Celebration?
What I would want people to know is that this is a time to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness. It’s an important time in American history. It’s not a ‘black’ thing. It is a ‘we’ thing. We are celebrating diversity and inclusiveness, and that’s what I want people to understand.
What are some of the best parts about the Juneteenth Celebration?
Well, the parade on Saturday Morning is pretty exciting. I get overjoyed when I look at how many people from different backgrounds are taking part in it. Seeing that many different people, it just fills me up.
Why is celebrating Juneteenth important to you?
To me, it celebrates the triumph over slavery. It’s one of the most important holidays we celebrate, and some would contend that it’s just as important or more important than the Fourth of July.
Tell us about some of the activities planned.
Most of the events are planned on the Howard County Courthouse Square and Paige-Liberty Park. One of the things I try to do is have an educational component to Juneteenth. We are doing something called Juneteenth Jeopardy on Thursday evening. It’s a fun way to celebrate the history. We also have a poster contest where we invite participants from kindergarten through age 25 to draw a poster that celebrates the theme “A Celebration of Community.”
Before the parade on Saturday, there will be a Race Around the Square for kids sponsored by the Howard County Health and Wellness Council. There will also be a car show, fashion show and games for kids.
There’s something new this year called Fayette Reads Together. There will be a discussion on the book by Heather McGhee called “The Sum of Us.”
Saturday ends with a fireworks display in Liberty Park. The Juneteenth celebration concludes with an outdoor community worship service downtown Fayette on Sunday morning.
For a full schedule of Juneteenth Events, visit: