OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Juneteenth Organization hosted its third celebration Saturday at Ocean City High School, honoring eight local residents who have contributed to the black community.

The organization’s name is inspired by the Juneteenth holiday, celebrated June 19 and which commemorates the date in 1865 when slaves in Texas finally learned of their freedom — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Forty-five states observe Juneteenth as a state or ceremonial holiday, and many large institutions, such as the Smithsonian and the Henry Ford Museum, sponsor Juneteenth activities.

Organizers are Joshua Baker, Takiya Wilson and Brittany Battle. 

Honorees were Mary Jane Granger, Philanthropic Leadership Award; Charlene Taylor Hemphill, Memorial Award; Daniel Lee Henry Jr., Community Leadership Award; Bernice McClellan, Family Values Award; Mary Hayward-Miles, Business Leadership Award; Tommy Miles Jr., Business Leadership Award; Richard Tolson, Community Ally Award; and the Rev. John T. Winters, Spiritual Leadership Award. 

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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