By: Brianna Smith-Herman
After years of talking about Juneteenth, last year, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law on June 17, 2021, recognizing Juneteenth as an official federal holiday after the House passed legislation that establishes June 19th as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Juneteenth celebrates the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It is a day, a week, and in some areas, a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.
With cookouts, festivals, concerts, exhibits and more it’s a celebration for all to celebrate and learn more about why Juneteenth is so special. The holiday is quickly approaching and here are a couple of events you can add to your calendar and ways to commemorate the day.
Attend a Celebration!
- Honoring the United States Colored Troops 29th Annual Juneteenth Festival at Douglass Park is a three-day event, starting on Friday, June 17th and wrapping up on Sunday June 19th.
Friday is Kids and Seniors Day, which will include a fashion show and history museum from 9am-1pm, a petting zoo from 10am-1pm, and a tribute to comedian Stephon Smith from 4pm-7pm. Morning yoga, chair massages, face painting, swimming, senior bingo, kid’s games, children’s book readings and much more fun!
Saturday is Main Stage Day. Which will include a long list of performances and activities. The headliner is Phoenix Star and they’ll be gracing the stage at 6pm. FAYRO, Miss Joyce, the Soul Outsiders Band, Forever Jay, F.O.E. and many more acts.
Sunday is Tribute & Honors Day. An art auction begins at 2pm, followed by a Flag Raising Ceremony and Allen Conner’s – Father’s Day Tribute at 6pm.
Juneteenth Poetry Slam presents Rhymes on the River on June 17th at 7pm at Fourth Bluff Park- Downtown. This event is free and open to the public. Come out and enjoy poetry and spoken word from some of the best poets in the city, while enjoying the view of The Mighty Mississippi.
- The Memphis Grizzlies are hosting The Juneteenth Freedom Festival on June 18th.
The Memphis Juneteenth Festival is held each year in Memphis for a fun-filled weekend. You can expect electric music, entertainment, vendors, activities for seniors, kids and more.
- Orange Mound Tower: Juneteenth Family Reunion Festival
Tone champions black art and culture in Memphis.
Duke Deuce will be headlining the festival, along with artists like Producer Hitkidd and Singer Talibah Safiya. Celebrate Juneteenth at the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Music Festival with live music, vendors and more. It starts at 5pm-11pm at The Orange Mound Tower, 2205 Lamar Ave.
Buy from Black-Owned Businesses!
- Cynthia Daniels presents Juneteenth Shop Black Festival at The Pipkin Building.
On Sunday, June 19th, enjoy a day of shopping with 100 black-owned businesses indoors and live performances from Gerald Richardson, Carmen Hicks and Courtney Little.
- Participate in Whitehaven’s Black Restaurant Week
The theme for the week is “Spend with Intent” and that’s the perfect mindset to have when shopping/dining around town. Click this link to learn more!
Show Up and Show Out!
- Memphis Juneteenth presents the Greek Yard Show on Saturday, June 18th @ 6PM at Health Sciences Park.
Come and represent the Founders of your Fraternity/Sorority. Wear your colors and paraphernalia and be a part of history with the Memphis Juneteenth Greek life experience. Calling all old school & new school greeks to show up and stroll.