The Juneteenth holiday is now official, but in Delaware, the Miss Juneteenth pageant has been educating youngsters and their families for 24 years.
RELATED: What is Juneteenth? The holiday’s history and significance, explained.

Backstage at a downtown hotel, Saniya Gay, the reigning Delaware Miss Juneteenth, is holding court among a sea of sequins and the smell of hot curling irons.

Gay, who was crowned the first National Miss Juneteenth last year, offers advice to the nine girls, ages 8 to 17, who are about to take the stage for the 2021 Delaware Juneteenth Family Enrichment Program and Pageant — one of whom she will crown as her successor.

This group has been preparing the pageant for six months doing community service, writing essays and taking biweekly classes on Black history, dance and etiquette.

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