The festivities of Jubilee Day put smiles on faces as crowds enjoyed the soul food, games for children and music at Fulton-Hill Park for the Aug. 8 state holiday that celebrates the emancipation of Tennessee’s slaves.
Dr. Alpha Alexander, the chair of the Morristown Taskforce on Diversity, said she was pleased to see communities coming together and enjoying themselves.
“I think it’s a wonderful start for Hamblen County,” she said. “This is the first Jubilee Day we have celebrated here. I think it has the potential to grow and be an annual event here. Knoxville, Greeneville, Johnson City, Newport… they have been celebrating it for years.”
The day started out with speakers including Todd Morgan, executive director of the Knox Heritage and East Tennessee Preservation Alliance and Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney.
Chesney said it was important for people to understand the importance of the park where Morristown College, a historic institution of higher education for African Americans that stood at the site.
“I think it’s an appropriate history at that location,” he said. “Andrew Fulton is one of the men Fulton-Hill Park. As a child, along with his mother, he was auctioned as a slave at that site. Later, he was a graduate of the school and then a professor who taught there until he passed away.”
Chesney said he was looking forward to next year.
Games for children were organized, including an egg toss where splattered eggs created big smiles on many faces.
The Morristown-Hamblen Library was on hand and were giving away books to children.
The Taskforce on Diversity provided free school supplies and prizes for the game winners.
The evening ended with a showing of “Best of Enemies,” a movie about the friendship between former enemies in North Carolina- a Ku Klux Klan leader and a civil rights worker.