Celebrating Juneteenth and Father’s Day
For the second consecutive year, there will be a Juneteenth celebration in Cherokee County. Last year, the Cherokee Democrats sponsored the event. This year, the Cherokee County chapter of the NAACP will host a celebration, which commemorates the freeing of slaves in Texas, the last state in the Confederacy to free slaves. It was on June 19, 1865, that the enslaved there learned their emancipation was official. Since then, various places in our country have celebrated this event. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making June 19 a federal holiday.
The local Juneteenth celebration on June 18, 1-5 p.m. at The Mill on Etowah, will feature artists, vendors, food and games, and speakers. This year, Juneteenth will be observed on June 18 since June 19 is Father’s Day.
Speaking of fathers, Canton resident and attorney Charles McGhee is proud of the successes of his daughters, Ebony and Bronze. Ebony McGhee Steele is a multitalented beauty/entrepreneur who seems to be following in the footsteps of her paternal grandmother, Flora McGhee. Flora was an Alabama beauty who established a successful charm and modeling school in Birmingham in 1958. Almost 64 years later, her granddaughter, Ebony, is making her mark in the beauty and entertainment fields.
The former full-time and now sometimes resident of Canton is well-known in the entertainment circle. For years, Ebony was a co-host on the national syndicated radio show, “Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” and the popular television show, “Dish Nation.” The busy entrepreneur has done voice-overs for a number of businesses, including Verizon, Walmart and Delta Air Lines.
Ebony was named one of Radio Facts Top 30 Women in Media. Oprah, Wendy Williams and Soledad O’Brien also were included in this group.
Given her many successes, one may be surprised to know that Steele has a degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, not theater or the arts. At Tuskegee, she was crowned Miss Tuskegee University.
While chalking up various honors, Ebony was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. She now serves as a national ambassador for Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise where she shares her experiences as a breast cancer survivor. Out of this experience came a name change. The divorcée dropped her married name, Arrington, and assumed her deceased mother’s maiden name, Steele. She explained that her experiences have caused her to develop a spirit as strong as steel.
Steele is the owner of the Ebony Arrington Dance & Performance Studio, the largest African American dance studio in the state of Alabama. She, her sister, Bronze McGhee Lougheed, and their father, Charles, have purchased a building that will house the family’s many businesses.
Bronze also has that entrepreneurial spirit. She is the CEO and founder of the nonprofit SISTA (Sisters Inspiring Sisters Through the Arts), which is committed to the Bimingham and Atlanta communities. This group sponsors an annual golf tournament (last August, the 14th annual SISTA Elite Golf Tournament was held in BridgeMill), and proceeds from this event provide scholarships to students interested in dance, as well as financial assistance to different charities.
Though the McGhee sisters live in different parts of the country now, Cherokee County always will have a special place in their hearts. After all, that is where their dad still lives!
– Margaret Miller has been a resident of Cherokee County for the past decade. Her writing hobby led her to become a columnist for community and daily newspapers.