SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield Reunion Club hosted the annual Park Day at Silver Springs Park this weekend with a parade, picnic, and more.
“I think it’s really a great thing for people to come together, especially in Springfield. We don’t have too many events for African Americans,” said KayAnnah Ray the vice president of Springfield’s NAACP Youth chapter. “And I think it’s good to keep on the historic celebration.”
Park Day got its name in 1952 when park supervisors Robert Wendell Duncan and Gerald Brooks started a day of games for young African Americans at Silver Springs Park.
Silver Springs Park is one of ten historic parks in Springfield and has been around for 105 years.
During segregation, Silver Springs was the city’s only public park designated for black residents.
“They all have stories, you know, and every day to them was Park Day,” said Christine Peoples, Education Coordinator for Springfield-Greene County Park Board. “Because this was the hub to come together and to make those memories.”
Peoples said Park Day serves as a way to connect with the community and remember the history behind the celebration.
“We come to embrace each other. and we remember times that were hard,” Peoples said. “But we remember the times that we came together and made it work. so that agency is really important.”
“Too many people try to forget,” said Tyler Thompson President of Springfield’s NAACP Youth Chapter. “And I feel like we just have to make the history last so people can remember what it’s all about.”
Springfield-Greene County Park Board said Park Day continues tonight and tomorrow.
- 9 p.m.-1 a.m. — Park Day Dance, featuring Springfield’s own ABS Band at University Plaza Convention Center, 333 S John Q Hammons Parkway.
Sun., Aug. 6
- Morning worship at various churches.
- 7 a.m. — Golf tournament continues.
- 1-5 p.m. — Timmons Hall open.
- 1-6:30 p.m. — Discount Splash & Sizzle swimming at Silver Springs Pool, admission is $1 or free with a canned food donation, benefitting Ozarks Food Harvest.
- 3 p.m. — Timmons Hall screening of “Generations: African American Experiences in Springfield and the Ozarks,” a new documentary produced by Ozarks Public Television.