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Record Number of Juneteenth Celebrations Planned Across Birmingham Metro Area

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The Birmingham Times/AL.com

Juneteenth is a holiday that seems to get a little more joyous across Alabama every year, and judging from the ever-increasing number of public celebrations. 2022 continues the trend.

A Juneteenth Celebration Guide published by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute starts with a quick summary of the concept: Though President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation became law in January 1863, it was not enforced in places still under Confederate control. Thus it took over two years for approximately 250,000 Texan slaves to learn their freedom had been secured by the government.” It was June 19, 1865 when U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced the news in Galveston, Texas.

The word “Juneteenth,” a mashup of “June” and “nineteenth,” first appeared in the 1890s. “Juneteenth marks a date of major significance in American history and shows us that freedom and racial equality have always been a hard-fought battle for Black Americans – a battle that continues to this day,” says the BCRI guide.

Birmingham Area

  • An inaugural Juneteenth Empowerment Luncheon will be presented by Run With Ruby LLCat 11 a.m. Thursday, June 16, at B&A Warehouse, 1531 1st Avenue S. Organizers say “We anticipate two hours of profound dialogue, professional networking, and powerful content from inspirational speakers.” Judge Ruby Davis will serve as host; speakers include Dr. Lori Bush of Now Vision Eye Care, Judge Carole Smitherman and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute President DeJuana Thompson. General admission is $75, tables are $600; registration available through Eventbrite.
  • Arlington Historic House and Gardens will offer “Juneteenth: Freedom in Body, Mind & Spirit,” a yoga and meditation practice, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 17. Interested participants can RSVP at arlingtonbham@birminghamal.gov. Bring your own mat; light refreshments will be served. arlingtonbham.org.
  • The Black Diamond Juneteenth Banquet takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 17, at the Crescent Cultural Center, 11121 Tuscaloosa Ave. SW. The event will feature keynote speaker Kwabena Lumumba, a community activist and photographer from Atlanta. Tickets are $35, available through Eventbrite.
  • An inaugural Juneteenth Festival will be presented in Gardendale by Balancing and Overcoming Life Adversities and IGKnight LLC starting at noon Saturday, June 18, at 857 Main St. Attractions include music, art, poetry, food trucks and other vendors. The event is free and open to the public; registration is available through Eventbrite.
  • The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will hold its Freedom Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 18, with the theme “Backyard Boogie.” “Come and experience The Color of Baseball photography exhibit by Bill Chapman, a captivating special salute to Negro Leagues. We’ll welcome special guests to our main stage and boogie to live performances in our backyard celebration. The National Hook-Up of Black Women Birmingham will facilitate fun activities for children and we’ll present an Authors Village where you can meet local authors.” Free gallery tours will be available; registration is encouraged but not required.  bcri.org/juneteenth. Special events at BCRI include a free screening of “Through Her Eyes” at 2 p.m. Saturday. According to information provided by BCRI, the film is the story of Rosalee Winbush played by actress Rayven Symone Ferrell, as a timid African-American student struggling with her decision to attend a newly integrated school while finding the courage to become the change she desires under extreme racial tensions in the American South; the movie was written & directed by Birmingham native Trent Lumpkin.
  • Hoover-AHEAD will present its second annual Juneteenth celebration from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Veterans Park, 4800 Valleydale Road in Hoover. Attractions include free family fun and education, “The story of Juneteenth,” live performances including African dancing and drumming and a youth choir, children’s activities and food trucks and other vendors. For information, visit hoover-ahead.comor www.facebook.com/officialhooverahead.
  • The Juneteenth in the Magic City Festival, presented by Simone’s Kitchen ATL, takes place from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, June 19, at 521 3rd Ave. N. Attractions include “the hottest food trucks in the city, vendors, live band, firework show, African dancers, & an overload of black excellence. The first 100 tickets are $5, once those early bird tickets are sold out general admission is $10. com/juneteenth-festival.
  • The National Juneteenth Observance Foundation of Alabama will hold its official Juneteenth commemoration from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 19, in Kelly Ingram Park. org.
  • The Lifting As We Climb Foundation and Beta Mu Nu chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity will present an inaugural Juneteenth celebration from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 19 at Historic Arlington Historic House & Gardens. Attractions include food trucks, networking, vendors, heathcare information, DJs and live music and fireworks. Children younger than 12 admitted free; early bird tickets are $15, regular admission is $25, tickets available through Eventbriteomegalawcf.org.
  • The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives at Samford University will present “A Taste of Juneteenth” at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, in Ben Brown Plaza. Interested participants are invited to stop by to learn more about the holiday, grab a snack and hear a short presentation by professor Ahinee Amamoo. Registration is free and available via Eventbrite.

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