Juneteenth celebrates the end of the enslavement of African-Americans in the United States. To commemorate the holiday, Birmingham On the Cheap has located the top 7 ways to celebrate Juneteenth for FREE around Birmingham this weekend.
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Unbeknownst to many, the total freeing of enslaved Africans did not take place with the mere passing of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
It would take two and a half years later, and federal troops led by U.S. General Gordon Granger, to arrive in Galveston, Texas June 19, 1865 to read General Orders No. 3:
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.
It was here, in the aftermath of the deadly Civl War, that enslaved Africans in America were officially released in the Confederate South.
As Texas had remained significantly free of Union troops during the war, the federal presence of troops within the state, along with bouts of war and fighting, was largely nil.
On June 19, 1865, the 250,000 enslaved Africans were officially released from American bondage. Later that year, in December, the 13th Amendment, was adopted to formally abolish slavery in America.
But the 13th is another story…
As the U.S. Senate has just today, June 16, 2021 (158 years following the Emancipation Proclamation), passed a bill to officially proclaim Juneteenth as a federal holiday, much work remains to truly equal the playing field for American descendants of slaves.
While America remains a work in progress, here are 7 ways to celebrate around Birmingham, the heart of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.
TOP 7 WAYS TO CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH AROUND BIRMINGHAM THIS WEEKEND
Following a hiatus, the highly-anticipated Juneteenth (Freedom Day) Celebration returns to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located at 520 16th St N., Birmingham, AL 35203.
The public is invited to experience the BCRI galleries for free until 4:00 p.m. to explore the history of Birmingham’s civil rights story. Everyone can enjoy local food vendors, dance to African drumming, attend the health fair for free COVID-19 vaccinations and screenings for sickle cell and HIV, visit the Children’s Crusade Corner, and meet the Black Voters Matter tour at the Freedom Rides Tour bus exhibit.
Special features for members, like the Members Only Brunch with the founding president, Odessa Woolfolk, will be offered, but patrons will also be able to engage with the jubilee’s first Afrotech feature, a plethora of guest speakers, a Black Wealth Matters workshop, and a farmer’s market sponsored by the Woodlawn Foundation. Click here for full event details and on arranging a reserved time for visiting the galleries.
2. FAIRFIELD DAY: A JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION AT WILLIE MAYS PARK
Continuing its mission to help Alabama’s youth succeed through high-quality mentorship programming, the Birmingham Mentoring Assistance Network proudly hosts Fairfield Day: A Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
This free, youth-centric community event will be held at Willie Mays Park, 409 66th Street Ensley, Fairfield, Alabama 35064.
3. URBANE EDGE PRESENTS JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION BESSEMER
Head to Alabama Avenue in Bessemer to vibe on live music, an array of performances, food, shopping, and more on Saturday, June 19, from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Admission is free and located at 1826 Alabama Avenue, Bessemer, AL 35020, between 18th and 19th streets by the railroad tracks in Bessemer, Alabama. Click here for details.
4. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: A PRIDE-FULL JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION
Poetic Advisory, LLC, El Centro/The Hub: Bham and Bham Black Pride present a gathering of artists in the Bham Black Gay Arts Community celebrating freedom of speech and the ability to just BE. Hosted by Joi Miner, the event is free and will provide free HIV and COVID-19 testing.
The event will take place at El Centro/The Hub: Bham, 3522 7th Avenue S., Birmingham, AL 35222 on Saturday, June 19 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
5. JUNETEENTH: A CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM IN ONEONTA
Duane and Erica Tolbert of Scott Tolbert Family Law welcome everyone to come and celebrate emancipation in Oneonta this Friday, June 18, from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Enjoy free food, education, and fellowship with your community. The event will take place at 910 2nd Ave. E, Oneonta, AL 35121.
6. JUNETEENTH FAMILY DAY CELEBRATION & SPLASH PAD!
Beulah Missionary Baptist Church welcomes everyone to join in its Juneteenth Family Day Celebration. Attendees will enjoy free food, games, music, fellowship, and fun, and Honor Roll students and graduating seniors will be recognized.
The event will take place on Saturday, June 19, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, 3100 25th St., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.
Plan a movie night around your TV (or laptop complete with HDMI cable), and find out what the 13th Amendment really meant for newly-freed Africans in America.
To be discovered are the systemic loopholes that exist in the U.S. Constitution, and were created in policies to the detriment of African-Americans. 13TH is streaming free from NETFLIX via their YouTube Channel here.