Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of slavery’s end in the United States. This year’s commemoration at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History takes place Saturday, June 22 from 11 am until 6 pm on Farnsworth Avenue behind the museum, located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center.
The national observance of African American Emancipation Day began in Galveston, Texas in 1865. Today, Juneteenth symbolizes overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the pursuit of knowledge and the determination to achieve greatness. It is also a time to celebrate history, assess and improve one’s self, and plan for the future.
Presented by the Friends Committee of The Wright Museum, this year’s event, taking place outside on the museum grounds, features a parade and marching bands, vendors, historical activities including Jumping the Broom and Cakewalk demonstrations, live entertainment, arts and crafts, storytelling, and numerous children’s activities. Jackson Five Star Catering will be selling food onsite, but visitors can also bring their own picnic baskets or refreshments. The Juneteenth Family Celebration is free and open to the public.
For those interested in a warm-up, “Our Wedding Jumping to Juneteenth” takes place at 6 pm on Friday, June 21 at First Congregational Church of Detroit, located at 33 East Forest Avenue in Midtown. This free event will feature a historic African American wedding performance by Detroit Association of Black Storytellers and The Underground Railroad Players.
The Wright Museum will be open from 9 am to 5 pm on June 22 during the Juneteenth Celebration, and exhibits are free with museum admission, which is $8 for adults (ages 13 - 61), $5 for seniors (62 +) and youth ages (3 - 12), and free for museum members and children under 3. A free performance of Complex Movements' Beware of the Dandelions (work-in-progress), a 30-minute multi-media performance and installation about transformation and social justice movements as complex systems, takes place in the museum at 7 pm following the Juneteenth Celebration.
Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information, please visit TheWright.org.