Juneteenth is a worldwide African American celebration commemorating the date (June 19) in 1865 when many slaves in Texas learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863), two and a half years after President Lincoln issued the document. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
The celebration began in Galveston, Texas, as African American Emancipation Day and has spread internationally to countries such as Japan and South Korea.
According to the website www.juneteenth.com, at the beginning Juneteenth celebrations were a time African Americans reassured each other, prayed and gathered remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage to Galveston on this date.
In contemporary times, there has been an effort to turn the day into an official national recognition.
The city of Carson and the Carson Cultural Arts Foundation hosts its Juneteenth Rhythm and Blues celebration June 15 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Mills Park, 1340 Dimondale Drive. The free event will feature Texas Blues guitarist Guitar Shorty as the main headliner. Others scheduled to perform include G Mack & the Polyester Players, Sophisticated Dance Inc., Blackqsax, Karen Evans, Avalon and Judson Baptist Church Mass Choir. For info: (310) 631-3130.
Robinson Park in Littlerock, will host a celebration June 14, 15 and 16 featuring a drill team competition, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, entertainment by local talent, arts and craft and food booths, carnival games, raffles and more from 5-8 p.m. at the park, 8773 East Avenue R. The event is free. For additional information, contact Peg Lee at email@example.com or (661) 944-2880.
The Friends of Jackie Robinson Park hosts the third annual Miss Juneteenth Sun Village Pageant June 15 at Jackie Robinson Park, 8773 East Ave. R, Sun Village, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Participating age brackets range from 6 months to 18 years old. For more info: (661) 480-MISS.
Leimert Park Black Arts Los Angeles Juneteenth Cultural Festival will feature activities in two locations at the park and on the Vision Theater back lot at 43rd Street and Degnan Boulevard. On Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. -6 p.m. a special ribbon-tying ceremony will be held in the park and represents the first Peace Pole installation in South Los Angeles in the 50-year history of the Peace Pole Project. The Juneteenth flag will also be introduced. Attendees can also ride horses, enjoy riding and roping tricks by 17-year-old Juan Caldera and the Cowboys of Color. The Urban Tech Fair will feature a computer-code and an app-building workshop, computer-based flight simulators courtesy of Robin Petgrave’s Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum. And folks who want to get up and move a little can join Vanessa Bailey, the Nubian Boot Scooters and Guys and Dolls for a little two-steppin’.
On Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. there will be Gospel music and praise dancing from the Deyempart Dancers. Vocalist Hishaam debuts his new single “Freedom.”
Other activities on both days include face-painting, rock wall climbing, storytelling and live music. The festival is free. For info: (323)-291-2024 or visit wwwblackartslosangeles.org.
A fun-filled day of food and entertainment will be part of the Juneteenth festival June 15 at Guidance Church, 7225 Crenshaw Blvd., L.A., from 10 a.m. -5 p.m.. For more information: (310) 753-5823.
Storyteller, educator and author Binnie Tate Wilkin will tell tales during a Juneteenth event at the A.C. Bilbrew Library June 15 at noon. Art activities, a display of slave ship replica, food and refreshments will also be featured. Find the library at 150 E. El Segundo Blvd., L.A. (310) 538-3350.
Miracle Baptist Church holds its Community Juneteenth Jubilee from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and the event will feature arts and crafts, games, music and an endless spread of homemade barbecue. Find the church at 8318 S. Central Ave. Info: (323) 582-3534.
The New Frontier Democratic Club will celebrate its seventh annual Juneteenth dinner at its general membership meeting June 18 from 6:30-9 p.m. at 4030 S. Crenshaw Blvd. The cost is $10 and funds will support membership events. The menu includes red beans and rice, hot links, fried chicken, cornbread muffins and strawberry soda. For info: (323) 752-936.
Christland World Harvest Church will host its free annual Juneteenth Gospel Jubilee beginning at 6 p.m. at 22920 Alessandro Blvd. Featured performers will include Riverside Park Avenue Baptist Mens Singers, Barbara Haynes, Christ Crusaders, Led By Christ and more. (951) 442-3218.