The Significance of Juneteenth, Freedom Day
In Fredrick Douglass’s most famous speech on the hypocrisy of American slavery, he pointed out the paradox of Independence Day: America declared every man had a right to liberty while at the same time enslaving millions of people. More than nine years after this speech, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in the Southern States freed. The reality of this freedom was not manifest however until the western most Confederate State of Texas was fully secured by the Union Army more than 2 1/2 years later in the early Summer of 1865, on the date of June 19th.
This date further signified the final fall of obstacles to the Ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 6 months later, which freed the remaining slaves in States that had fought for the Union but had still not outlawed slavery, such as the State of Kentucky. Harkening back to Fredrick Douglass’s criticism of the hypocrisy of Independence Day, June 19th became known as our 2nd Independence Day, or Freedom Day, celebrating the Freedom for all people when there is equity in Justice.
While this date has been celebrated throughout the country since 1865, it did not became a federal holiday in the United States until 2021. The celebration of this date is another step forward in bringing light to the pursuit of the ideals upon which our nation was founded. Locally, there are a number of events celebrating Juneteenth Freedom Day:
Friday, June 16th, the Village of Golf Manor has their 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration from 4 pm to 9pm. Admission is FREE. The event will have live music featuring local gospel rap and traditional African dance. Family-friendly activities will be freely available. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. You can visit the village website for more information.
Saturday, June 17th, the City of Covington will host their 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration at Randolph Park, from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy FREE food, drinks, music, African dance, guest panel, and community vendors. You can visit the event website for more information.
Saturday, June 17th through Sunday June 18th, is the 36th Annual Juneteenth Festival in Eden Park. Admission is FREE. The festival hours are noon to 9pm on Saturday, and 2pm through 6pm on Sunday. Activities include traditional parade of flags representing the African diaspora, family-friendly activities such as horseback riding, education pavilions, historical reenactments and more. The Juneteenth Festival will also offer food, art displays, merchandise vendors and two stages featuring live music. Musicians include local artists Rhythm of Soul, Jazz Renaissance, Last Boppers Cincy Brazil Samba and much more. You can visit the event website or call (513) 631-7289 for more information.
Also Saturday, June 17th through Sunday June 18th, is the 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration at Findlay Market. Both days will feature live music, from 1 to 6 pm on Saturday, and 11am to 2pm on Sunday. Saturday’s events have free admission and additionally features a panel discussion on the history and importance of the holiday. Sunday will additionally feature ticketed events for food and drinks from local merchants. You can visit the event website for more information.
And on Monday, June 19th, the 2nd Annual Cincinnati Official Juneteenth Parade will proceed from 2pm to 4pm, at 1027 Linn Street. The parade will feature vibrant displays of culture, art, and music. You can visit the event website or call (513) 485-6985 for more information.
So there are lots of opportunities throughout the weekend to celebrate Juneteenth Freedom Day. You can find resources related to diversity and inclusion by selecting the “Diversity & Inclusion” option from the dropdown tab on our “Social Service Utilization Library” page.