On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that enslaved African-Americans were now free and that the Civil War had finally ended — two and a half years after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Festivities ensued. And now more than 150 years later, June 19 or “Juneteenth” is a nationally celebrated holiday honoring the end of chattel slavery in the United States, as well as the continued fight for equality.
In 2021, Juneteenth became a federally recognized holiday. And this year, there are numerous events in the Cincinnati area — from parades and block parties to intimate discussions and historical remembrances — to celebrate the complexity and importance of Juneteenth. Here’s a small sampling of what’s coming up:
Juneteenth Flag Raising in Norwood and Elsewhere
The city of Norwood will hold its first city-wide Juneteenth celebration that includes Jazz in the Park and Sound the Alarm, plus a flag raising, a paint-and-sip event and a pool party. (Cincinnati, Hamilton County and other local jurisdictions also are scheduling flag raisings and celebrations this month.) June 17-18 in Norwood. norwoodohio.gov. (Lindsay Wielonski)
Juneteenth Celebration at Findlay Market
Findlay Market ‘s Juneteenth weekend will kick off on June 17 with a celebration at Jane’s, featuring live music and drinks. On June 18, Kai Stoudemire-Williams, founder of the “Black is Excellence” campaign, will lead a panel discussion at The Columns alongside Tim Barr, Alice Frazier, Paul Booth Sr. and Adoria Maxberry to discuss the history and importance of the holiday. On June 19, there will be a ticketed tasting event featuring local Black-owned businesses. June 17-19. Free admission, but tasting tickets start at $10. 1801 Race Street, Over-the-Rhine. findlaymarket.org. (LW)
Juneteenth Festival at Eden Park
Juneteenth Cincinnati began its annual Juneteenth Festival in 1988 and recognizes the conclusion of chattel slavery as well as the ongoing difficulties and discrimination still facing Black Americans. The festival will include live music on two stages, historical discussions, arts and food. Noon-9 p.m. June 18. Free admission. 950 Eden Park Dr., Walnut Hills/Mt. Adams, juneteenthcincinnati.org. (Lauren Serge)
Juneteenth Parade in Middletown
This year, Middletown will hold its first Juneteenth parade. Hosted by Key Better Days Society, the parade will go through downtown Middletown and will end at Verity Parkway and Lafayette Avenue. 9-11:30 a.m. June 18. Main Street, Middletown, bit.ly/3b0glmD. (LS)
Young Black Genius Block Party at Ziegler Park
Sweet Sistah Splash will host a Young Black Genius Block Party for Juneteenth, celebrating Black culture specifically among Black youth and business professionals. The celebration will include vendors, speakers, live music, food trucks and resources for entrepreneurship. 2-6 p.m. June 18. Free admission. 1322 Sycamore St., Downtown, facebook.com/SweetSistahSplash. (LS)
Father’s Day Concert at Eden Park
The Father’s Day concert, a tradition of the Cincinnati Juneteenth celebrations, provides a space for African-American performers to present their talents. This year’s event will include a variety of music styles from several musical performers. 2-6 p.m. June 19. 600 Art Museum Dr., Walnut Hills/Mt. Adams, juneteenthcincinnati.org. (LS)
Juneteenth Parade in the West End
The Cincinnati Official Juneteenth Parade will collaborate with Hands That Heal Homeless Organization, YourGo2Girl Youth Arts & Entertainment and the Juneteenth Cincinnati Festival to host its first parade in the West End. Participants are encouraged to wear red, white and blue. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June 20. West End, thecojp.com. (LW)
For even more events, visit the Juneteenth Cincinnati website.
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