Hope Moses

Juneteenth Festivities Feature Many Events

It's the 50th anniversary of the first Juneteenth Day celebration in Milwaukee.

By - Jun 15th, 2021 09:45 am
2017 Juneteenth Day celebration. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

2017 Juneteenth Day celebration. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

There is plenty to do in the Milwaukee area as the Juneteenth weekend approaches.

Juneteenth is a commemoration of June 19, 1865, when Union Army soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that all slaves were free—two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and issued by President Lincoln.

Since then, Juneteenth has become a nationally recognized holiday—some even referring to it as the country’s “second Independence Day.” While Wisconsin did not officially recognize the day as a holiday until 2009, public festivities on Juneteenth Day have occurred in Milwaukee since 1971, making it one of the first northern cities to commemorate the emancipation.

Now, after a year of canceled events due to COVID-19 and protests for racial equality, Juneteenth festivities in the city are back on—just in time for the 50th annual Juneteenth Day celebration parade. Last year, organizers held a virtual version of the annual celebration, but in May 2021, Northcott Neighborhood House announced the Juneteenth festivities would continue this year. The parade will start at 8 a.m. from 14th St. and Atkinson Ave. and will travel to Burleigh St. and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The event ends at 4 p.m.

The celebration is set to kick off with the crowning of Miss and Little Miss Juneteenth, along with Mister Juneteenth and Mister Juneteenth Day Jr., which is a pageant sponsored by Milwaukee radio station, Jammin 98.3.

Despite the City of Milwaukee lifting restrictions, Juneteenth organizers have set safety standards and are following the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals planning to attend must wear a mask and those who do not will be asked to leave by the NNH security. Masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) will be handed out to anyone who needs it.

This year’s celebration will be broadcast live on TMJ4. The station has also produced historical content that will run from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the channel as well.

But these are not the only events happening in Milwaukee for the weekend of Juneteenth.

Alice’s Garden Urban Farm is partnering with the Milwaukee Public Museum for Mandela: The Official Exhibition to honor the life and work of Nelson Mandela. While incarcerated, Mandela planted a garden. As part of Juneteenth festivities, the community is welcomed to join in planting this special garden plot. This event will take place at Alice’s Garden Urban Farm, 2136 N. 21st St., from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on June 19.

There is also a bike ride event hosted by the Sherman Phoenix taking place on June 19. Individuals wanting to participate can meet in the Sherman Phoenix parking lot at 9 a.m. at 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave. The bike ride will start at 10 a.m. on closed streets. Masks are not required but recommended. Afterwards, there will be free refreshments, bike clinics, fun giveaways and the chance to listen to inspiring speakers from the community.

Additionally, Hard Labor Entertainment has organized a Pop-Up Shop and Networking Event that is open to the community on Juneteenth as well. There is also a bounce house and games available to all children. This event is free of charge and located on 7924 W. Appleton Ave. on June 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For those interested in theater, the Skylight Music Theatre is hosting Forgotten Voices, a musical and theatrical journey that highlights how musical roots encompass harmonies and rhythms of West Africa. Forgotten Voices will be performed and recorded on stage in front of a small, invited audience following current safety protocols. It will be available online to the public on Juneteenth Day, June 19 through July 18, 2021.

On June 15th at 2 p.m., the Juneteenth Flag will be raised over the Zeidler Municipal Building at 841 N. Broadway. It’s the second year in a row the flag has been raised over the City Hall complex.

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3 thoughts on “Juneteenth Festivities Feature Many Events”

  1. steenwyr says:

    Sherman Phoenix is at 3536 Fond du Lac (missing first three)

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @steenwyr Thanks. Fixed.

  3. blurondo says:

    This seems like a good opportunity to provide COVID-19 vaccinations.

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