All around the country, African Americans will gather this weekend to celebrate June 19th or Juneteenth, the day in which Texas slaves were informed they were free, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
For more than 140 years, our country has celebrated the freedom of the last slaves by having cookouts, concerts, festivals and more. For Ohioans, there are many activities recognizing the history and the significance of Juneteenth:
In Oberlin, gatherers celebrate all weekend at the Juneteenth Oberlin 2013 (June 13-15) with a picnic, memorial service and reenactment that leads up to the festival on Saturday, June 15th at Tappan Square.
Columbus kicks off the weekend with the annual JuneteenthOhio Festival (June 14-16). This is Ohio’s longest-running and fastest growing event in Central Ohio. There is something for everyone to enjoy with weekend long events including an Underground Railroad Journey, soul food cook-off, talent and comedy shows, reggae and gospel concerts and a unity walk at Franklin Park.
Dayton’s Juneteenth Celebration (June 22) at W.S. McIntosh Memorial Park celebrates the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation while honoring African American Union soldiers from the Dayton area.
Cincinnati recognizes the holiday with their annual Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival (June 15-16) at Daniel Drake Park. This year also includes a Father’s Day Concert featuring jazz, gospel and R&B acts.
Juneteenth is a wonderful way to discover the history of America and observe the freedom, resilience and achievement of African Americans. Ohio has a rich history with the anti-slavery movement and is home to many great Underground Railroad stops. When visiting one of the Juneteenth celebrations, make it a weekend trip and stop along the Underground Railroad. I’ll be in Columbus at the JuneteenthOhio Festival with TourismOhio’s multicultural team. Come say "hi" if you plan to attend!
How do you celebrate Juneteenth in Ohio?