NICODEMUS — Descendants of the settlers of the country’s only remaining black settlement west of the Mississippi River will be arriving for the community’s annual Emancipation/Homecoming Celebration this week.

“It’s very important,” Cheryl Jones, chairperson of the Nicodemus Homecoming Committee, said of the 139-year-old tradition.

“We all live in all parts of the United States. It’s important we all get back together and carry on the tradition,” she said.

“It’s just reminiscing and talking about those that have gone on before,” she said.

Many of the events of the four-day celebration center around socializing — cards, games and food — but there are also historical programs, music and dancing.

Wristbands can be purchased to support the celebration at $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Saturday will feature a dedication of signs at the baseball field commemorating the history of the Nicodemus Blues, one of the first baseball teams in the country. Formed in 1907, the team played against those from surrounding communities and also Texas, Louisiana and the Kansas City Monarchs, whose roster included Satchel Paige.

A baseball tournament was planned, but no teams have signed up yet, something Jones attributed to the high temperatures in the region recently. The 5K through the townsite will happen early Saturday morning, with Jones participating for the fourth time.

“I was the first senior to finish it,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve got my tradition. I run part of it, I walk part of it.”

That day’s events will also include a parade, speaker Enimini Ekong, chief of interpretation at the Brown v Board National Historic Site, and historical performances of Blues team members Freddie Switzer and Andrew Alexander, Nicodemus scholars Nettie Asbury and Lula Craig and Nicodemus banker A. McPherson and patron Eliza Smith.

Saturday will finish with a watermelon feed, gospel extravaganza and dance with a DJ.

On Sunday, church services will be at 10:30 a.m. at the Nicodemus First Missionary Baptist Church, followed by a community dinner at 1 p.m. at Township Hall.