Detroit to celebrate Juneteenth with 3-day series of events

“We are extremely excited to have partnered with some of the Nation’s 1st voice institutions of African American history and culture to present a multi-city virtual event," said Neil Barclay, president and CEO of the Wright Museum.

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Detroit will be commemorating Juneteenth with a three-day celebration of events in the city.

The celebrations for the recognized end of slavery in the United States will feature in-person and virtual commemorations, The Detroit News reported Wednesday.

The 10 leading museums and historical institutions in Detroit such as Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History have partnered with firms such as Chase Bank, T-Mobile, Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, and Detroit’s Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship to bring this affair to life.

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Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas (Mrs. Charles Stephenson/Wikimedia Commons)

The Wright Museum will host a virtual screening of Juneteenth: Lift Every Voice on June 17. That will be followed by the free event screening of the film Concrete Cowboy, starring Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin at Campus Martius Park on June 18. The grand finale will be a Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll along Detroit’s Livernois Avenue of Fashion that will promote education, economics, and Black-owned businesses on June 19.

“We are extremely excited to have partnered with some of the Nation’s 1st voice institutions of African American history and culture to present a multi-city virtual event,” said Neil Barclay, president and CEO of the Wright Museum, in a press release. “Equally, our connection to the local community with both the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Avenue of Fashion Business Association will engage people from all walks of life, to best understand the meaning of Juneteenth.”

Detroit will also be treated to a festival by the group As in Heaven to mark the occasion. It’s scheduled to take place on June 19 from noon to 10:30 p.m. at MBAD African Bead Museum. Organizers told Local 4 about sharing this day with the public.

“To showcase that this is more than just about us. This is an American holiday and we want everyone to participate,” said Mikhaella Norwood, As in Heaven director of programming.

“The idea that I can celebrate the beauty of my race and you can celebrate the beauty of your race and we can still come together and unite under that,” added Alexis Whyms, As in Heaven director of production.

Detroit is not the only place recognizing Juneteenth for its cultural and historical significance. Oregon voted on Tuesday to make the day a state holiday.

“Today the Senate joined the House in voting to make Juneteenth an Oregon state holiday,” Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow (D-OR) wrote on Twitter. “Senator Lew Frederick’s carry was incredibly moving, showing the meaning of this important act through the lens of his family and community over the past century and a half.”

The origins of Juneteenth—the end of chattel slavery in the United States– come from enslaved people in Galveston, Texas being belatedly informed of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln, which freed slaves in the southern states on Jan. 1, 1863.

They became aware on June 19, 1865, more than two years later.

Though Juneteenth has been celebrated for many years in 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize it as a holiday. Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota are the only states that do not acknowledge the date’s historical importance.

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