When we talk about a celebration of freedom and independence, the average American will think of July 4th and all things red, white, and blue. But what about red, black, and green Those are the colors of the Pan-African flag, most often seen during Black History Month and increasingly for Juneteenth.
While Americans have spent years celebrating July 4th, or Independence Day, in celebration of America finally being free from British rule, Black people were still viewed as property — not people — so freedom truly depended on skin color.
In 1863, 87 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln penned the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all enslaved people would be free. The news of freedom didn't reach Texas until two years later.
On June 19, 1865, the last remaining slaves were freed. Black Americans began to celebrate this day, also known as Freedom Day and Jubilee Day, in celebration of freedom and independence from American slavery.
In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. For years, you could find Juneteenth celebrations if you looked hard enough, but now that it's a federal holiday, more cities and organizations are opening up to the celebration.
Here are a few places you can celebrate Juneteenth in metro Detroit:
Ujamaa Fest 2022Ujamaa Fest is a three day Juneteenth celebration sponsored by The Uprising Network, KwanzaaMe, and NerdWonder. The weekend kicks off on Friday, June 17, with a Black Business and Bar Crawl down the Livernois Avenue of Fashion.
On Saturday, June 18, the Ujamaa Fest will head to Tindal Recreation Center for the Black Joy Marktplace. The marketplace will feature Black-owned business pop-ups, food trucks, bounce house, kids activities, and live DJ. There will also be an African Dance Class from 1-2 p.m.
Finishing out the weekend, the Black Brunch with a Purpose will take place at Jam Handy. Hosted by Lana Ladonna, the event will feature an unlimited mimosa bar, art gallery, and selfie installations, with a portion of the proceeds going to Project Rise Up.
For tickets and additional information, see bit.ly/ujamaafest313.
Madison Heights Juneteenth CelebrationThe city of Madison Heights will celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday, June 18, at Civic Center Park. The family-friendly affair will feature vendor booths, food trucks, live entertainment, petting zoo, rib cooking competition, and much more. The opening ceremony will have remarks from Madison Heights Councilman Quinn Wright, who became the city’s first Black councilmember when he took office last year.
Madison Heights Juneteenth Celebration, noon-6 p.m., Civic Center Park, 360 W. 13 Mile Rd., Madison Heights. Admission to the festival and festival parking are free.
Juneteenth Film FestivalEmgaine Entertainment is bringing Black cinema favorites to the big screen once again. The Juneteent Film Festival will showcase different Black films throughout the month of June. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the United Negro College Fund, an organization dedicated to post-secondary education for Black students.
Tickets for the Juneteenth Festival are $5 and can be purchased at emagine-entertainment.com/juneteenth-film-festival. Films will be screened at Emagine Royal Oak (200 N. Main St., Royal Oak) and The Riviera (30170 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills).
The film screening list and dates are as follows:
June 3-June 9
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (NR)
Do The Right Thing (R)
June 10-June 16
School Daze (R)
The Best Man (R)
June 17-June 23
Uncle Drew (PG-13)
Coming 2 America (PG-13)
June 24-June 30
Just Mercy (PG-13)
Sorry to Bother You (R)
Juneteenth Health and Wellness Freedom Day CelebrationDetroit Recovery Project, Wake Upp, and the East Village Association have joined forces to bring a day centered around health and wellness during Juneteenth Weekend.
On Saturday, June 18, head to Detroit’s east side for the free event which will feature Zumba and hustle classes, meditation classes, and face painting for children. The event will also have free health screens which will screen blood pressure, cholesterol levels, Hepatitis C, and HIV.
The Juneteenth Health and Wellness Freedom Day Celebration will be from noon-8 p.m. at the Wake Upp Community Garden, 1515 Fischer St., Detroit.
Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit Freedom WeekendThe 4th Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit Freedom Weekend will with a weekend packed with family friendly events.
On Friday, June 17, Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit will partner with Eastern Market Brewing Co. and Brewz Brothaz for the Rhythm and Art Block Party.
On Saturday, June 18, Jubilee Detroit takes things to the Livernois Avenue of Fashion for a Jubilee Stroll in support of Black businesses along the strip. The stroll isn’t just for shopping, the event will also feature local entertainment, children’s activities, and free health screenings.
On Sunday, June 19, Jubilee Detroit will conclude Freedom Weekend with a concert in partnership with The City of Detroit, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, Detroit Branch NAACP, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit Means Business, and Eastern Market Development Corporation. The concert will feature Slum Village, Charity, John Houston, and The Formula.
For event information and registration/ticket information, see bit.ly/jubileedet.
NCNW Macomb County presents JuneteenthThe National Council of Negro Women - Macomb County will host a Juneteenth Celebration from 2-7 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at Cairns Community Center. The event will feature a live DJ and entertainment, vendors, food trucks, arts and crafts, and a Historically Black Colleges and Universities and National Pan-Hellenic Council presentation.
Admission is free and open to the public. Cairns Community Center is located at 58 Orchard St., Mt. Clemens.
Juneteenth Family ReunionFamily Reunions are a deep-rooted part of Black culture, and the 4th Annual Juneteenth Family Reunion brings that vibe to Southfield. To kick things off, there will be a Juneteenth Toast on Friday, June 17, from 6-8 p.m. at Duo Restaurant & Lounge, 29555 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield.
On Saturday, June 18, the 4th Annual Juneteenth Family Reunionwill take place in Catalpa Oaks Park to celebrate the holiday. The event will feature live entertainment, food trucks, family friendly activities, and more.
On Sunday, June 19, the Juneteenth Family Reunion weekend concludes back in Catalpa Oaks Park with Church Service on the Lawn and a Father’s Day brunch from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Catalpa Oaks Park; 27705 Greenfield Rd., Southfield; For additional information including registration or vendor information visit juneteenthfamreunion.org.
Juneteenth Mobility Stroll & RollThe Juneteenth Mobility Stroll & Roll returns for a weekend long celebration right in Dearborn.
On Thursday, June 16, H2BE and Dearborn Police Department will host the Truth & Reconciliation Forum, a listening session and discussion that will center around a variety of topics including reparations and community policing.
On Friday, June 17, the Art and Chocolate Block Party will take over Dearborn's ArtSpace campus. The event will feature live music, vendors, chocolate, and art.
Tickets for this event are $12 and includes chocolate and two drink tickets. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.
On Saturday, June 18, there will be a commemorative prayer breakfast before the parade down Michigan Ave. kicks off.
Tickets for the prayer breakfast are $25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite. For additional information, including times and locations, please visit eventbrite.com.
Negro Leagues Tribute Game
The Friends of Historic Hamtramck Stadium will be hosting a rededication of Hamtramck Stadium along with a Negro Leagues Tribute Game honoring Ron Teasley Sr., a native Detroiter and one of four Major Negro League players still living.
Hamtramck Stadium was originally built in 1930 and was home to the Detroit Stars, it remains one of five Major Negro League home ballparks in the United States. Managed by Wayne County, the $2.6 million rehabilitation of Hamtramck Stadium began last summer and concluded earlier this month.
Historic Hamtramck Stadium rededication and Negro Leagues Tribute Game is free and open to the public. The event begins at 1 p.m. on Monday, June 20 at Hamtramck Stadium; 3201 Dan St., Hamtramck. For additional information, visit hamtramckstadium.org
Juneteenth Celebration at Charles H. Wright Museum
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will be celebrating Juneteenth all weekend.
On Saturday, June 18, visitors can participate in the Underground Railroad Treasure Hunt. Participants will explore historic Downtown Detroit sites while learning history on a fun quest.
On Sunday, June 19, the museum will host a variety of presentations from local organizations as well as live entertainment. There will be a screening of We The People at 2 p.m., followed by a free concert in celebration of Black Music Month.
For additional information including ticketing, registration, and a complete schedule visit thewright.org.Stay connected with Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, or TikTok.