Here in Milwaukee, the City of Festivals, there is a celebration of freedom that takes place in June that you absolutely MUST know about. Juneteenth. Let’s talk about what Juneteenth is and why you should get excited to celebrate Juneteenth Day in Milwaukee!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — Black History is Human History. Black History does not just belong in one particular month on the calendar, but should be taught, discussed, celebrated and shared every week of the year and Juneteenth Day provides a unique opportunity to create a conversation with our friends, family and children about slavery and to celebrate freedom.
The History of Juneteenth Day
Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, celebrating when the last slaves were finally freed during the Civil War. The executive order of President Abraham Lincoln, signed on September 22, 1862, declared that all salves were to be freed, however this proclamation only applied to the states in the Confederate States of America. Many of the state governments in Union-held regions had already outlawed slavery and as the Union armies began to overtake Confederate-held areas, the people being held as property were “set free.” Although the executive order immediate freed the approximately 3 million people who were considered to be property, it was not until the victorious Union army physically reached them that they were released.
Juneteenth Day is celebrated on June 19th to commemorate when Union Soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 (yes, nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation) not only with news the war had ended, but with enough troops to occupy the area and free the last remaining slaves being held.
Why Does Juneteenth Matter?
We think our friends over at Wine Country Moms Blog put it perfectly:
Juneteenth was an historic moment for Black people in the United States, and remains a cause for celebration today. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their native languages, cultures, religions, songs, foods, and family histories. Millions more, born into slavery, created a new culture in a foreign country.
Juneteenth is the first Black-centric holiday in America, ever. It is not celebrating so much the end of slavery, but the birth of Black America. Juneteenth recognizes survival, the power of knowledge, and the emergence of African Americanism. Juneteenth is not, however, a holiday for only Black people. All Americans can celebrate Juneteenth, ensuring that the lessons learned and struggles overcome are never forgotten.
Celebrating Juneteenth Day in Milwaukee
Celebrate freedom, history, culture and have a ton of fun by celebrating Juneteeth Day in the Milwaukee area.
The 48th Annual Juneteenth Day Festival
June 19th, 10 am to 5:30 pm
Martin Luther King Jr. Drive between Center and Burleigh
Kicking off with a parade at 10:00, this festival is the place to be to celebrate Juneteenth Day in Milwaukee! The newly crowned 2019 Miss Juneteenth will be prominently featured in the parade, along with her court. Check out the parade route HERE. The parade starts at 10am proceeding to Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and ending at Burleigh Street. Opening Ceremonies are at noon on the 98.3 Sate located at Martin Luther King Jr. Dr and Locust.
Stick around all day long for an exception day of celebration. The Festival features musical performances, numerous vendors from food to toys, along with community organizations sharing helpful resources for residents of all ages.
Find all the info you need on the Milwaukee Juneteenth Day Festival HERE!
Juneteenth Blood Drive
Wednesday, June 19th from 10 am to 3 pm
Milwaukee Public Library, Martin Luther King Branch (310 West Locust Street)
Did you know for every ONE unit of blood that is donated, there are THREE lives saved? Celebrate Juneteenth Day by giving back to the community at the annual Juneteenth Day Blood Drive and help to save lives. Plan ahead and schedule your donation HERE.
Keep the Conversation going with “Selma of the North”
Thursday, June 20th at 6 pm
Coffee Makes You Black, 2803 N Teutonia Ave
Patrick Jones, author of “The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee,” will tell the story of Milwaukee’s Civil Rights Movement during the ‘60s and ‘70s during an event Thursday, June 20 at Coffee Makes You Black, 2803 N. Teutonia Ave. The event starts at 6 p.m. and donations can be made at the door.
Did we miss a Juneteenth event? Know of another celebration we should add? Let us know!