Juneteenth, short for June 19, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that enslaved Americans were now free. This came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on January 1, 1863. (Source: https://www.juneteenth.com/history/)
On June 17, 2021, President Biden signed into law: S. 475, the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,” declaring June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day and a federal holiday. It was the first new federal holiday enacted since the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1983.
“Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day) is a day to honor and celebrate liberation. The holiday is all about celebrating Black culture, history and life, and bringing people together to honor all those who came before us and fought for the rights and privileges we hold today.” (Source: https://www.purewow.com/family/how-to-celebrate-juneteenth)
Juneteenth Events: Southeast Michigan
We’ve spotlighted several Juneteenth celebrations taking place across southeast Michigan. Click for an expansive list of events, compiled by Brendel Hightower, Detroit Free Press.
June 15-22: Southfield Juneteenth Celebration. Music, dance performances, a 2.5-mile walk, children’s story time, special appearances from Black Cowboy L.C. Caldwell and Tuskegee Airmen, food, and games. Southfield Municipal campus, 26000 Evergreen Road.
June 17-19: Juneteenth Freedom Weekend. The City of Detroit, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, Detroit Branch NAACP, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Juneteenth Jubilee, Detroit Means Business and Eastern Market Development Corporation have partnered for events such as the Rhythm and Art Block Party, the Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll Livernois Avenue of Fashion, and the Juneteenth Freedom Fest – Eastern Market Shed.
June 18-19: Juneteenth Jubilee Freedom Weekend
- June 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: The Charles H. Wright Museum will highlight the history of Juneteenth, an “Underground Railroad Treasure Hunt,” and black-owned businesses and job opportunities.
- June 19, 3 p.m.: A concert at the museum entitled “Spirits Soar-Free!,” offering sights and sounds of musical performances from the 1860s to today.
June 18-19: Ypsilanti 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration. Hustle dance lessons, African dancers and drummers, poets, a jazz concert, comedy, and more at the parking lot behind Puffer Red’s, 107 Ferris St. in Ypsilanti.