A Juneteenth Celebration is Coming to Sims Park

The City of New Port Richey, incorporated in 1924, is home to over a century of well-preserved history. The “Hollywood of the East” has long been glamorized with stories of silver screen stars and infamous mobsters. Photos from as early as the 1910’s offer a vivid picture of quintessential American life in the early-twentieth century. Today, our revitalized downtown is full of historic charm in the form of murals, placards, and even our own museum.

However, the story of New Port Richey has not always been glamorous. The City has faced trials and tribulations in the past that make its current success that much sweeter. As we begin a new chapter, it’s important to reflect on some of the City’s untold history. While historic names and faces are often highlighted in our community, New Port Richey’s conception and construction is embedded in the untold history of Pasco County’s black community.

Organizations like the West Pasco Historical Society do a tremendous job of organizing and preserving our past.

In February, we worked with the WPHS to share stories of black history from the area. In the following passage, the West Pasco Historical Society describes the role of black folks in mid-1920’s NPR:

“Black men found work crushing rock, building roads and bridges, cutting railroad ties, picking oranges, and working construction on all the commercial buildings going up along Main street and the Boulevard. Black women found jobs at the local laundry establishments or working as servants and cooks in the homes of wealthy white citizens. These black workers were instrumental in providing the back breaking labor that was necessary for the burgeoning city to reach its potential. Some of the most prominent buildings in town, including the Hacienda and Meighan Theatre, were built with the labor of black men.”

With this in mind, the City is honored to host its first-ever Juneteenth event on June 19th, 2021 from 11 AM – 5 PM at Sims Park. This event is presented by the End Recidivism Project, in collaboration with the City of New Port Richey, B.M.W. Music Group, Hey Sis, and Kingdom Faith Life Center.

About Juneteenth

Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary date of the June 19th, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawed slavery in Texas and the United States as a whole.

Today, we are celebrating freedom for all! Let’s join in unity!