Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday now, which is just one more reason to celebrate.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation began the process of ending slavery in 1863, it certainly didn’t happen overnight. It took years for Union troops to arrive in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, where black people remained enslaved until June 19, 1865. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Also called Jubilee Day and Emancipation Day, the earliest Juneteenth celebrations began in 1866. As emancipated African Americans migrated to new cities, they took the holiday with them. Now, Juneteenth is celebrated all across the country.
On June 17, President Biden announced that Juneteenth would become a federal holiday, the first to be added since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983. The holiday is also an official holiday for the City of Columbus.
“Over the past year, we have all been reminded of the unrelenting power and promise of a free, inclusive society,” said Mayor Ginther. “I encourage everyone, no matter your background, to learn from the lessons of our past, consider the vital work that still lies ahead and move forward, together, with renewed optimism and determination in pursuit of a more equitable, honest and accountable society.”
Columbus City Hall will be lit red, black, and green, the colors of the Pan-African flag from June 18-20 in celebration.
If you are looking to celebrate Juneteenth, there are some wonderful events going on throughout Columbus this weekend.
Juneteenth Freedom Day
The King Arts Complex, located at 835 Mt Vernon Ave., is going all out for Juneteenth on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be live performances, food, art, vendors, health screenings, and more. This free event is fun for all ages and includes plenty of activities for the kids.
1st Annual Juneteenth Celebration and 2nd Annual Black Yoga Showcase
June 18-20 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event, organized by Black Yoga Collective, is free to all. Attendees can enjoy shopping from various vendors, participating in yoga and meditation, and live performances. The celebration will be held at Culture Lounge, Events and Suites, located at 6170 Busch Blvd.
A Juneteenth Symphony
Head down to Flavor 91 Bistro for a special Juneteenth Performance on June 19 at 7 p.m. The restaurant will host the Columbus Cultural Orchestra for an evening of live music. Tickets are $10. If you are unable to attend in-person, you can also live stream the concert on Facebook.
Bexley Juneteenth 2021
June 19 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Head to the lawn at Capital University for a celebration with live performances, a marketplace of black-owned businesses, community art projects, and more. The event is free to attend.
Hosted by Black Liberation Movement Central Ohio, this Juneteenth Jubilee will take place on June 19 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The jubilee will be held at Goodale Park and it is free to attend. Juneteenth Jubilee will feature vendors, food, live entertainment, and even a health screening area where attendees can receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Black Music — The Soundtrack of Humanity
Ohio History Connection and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center are teaming up for a special online event focusing on the history of black music. The event will be held over Zoom and tickets are $20 for non-members, $5 for members, and free for premium members.
Reynoldsburg’s 2nd Annual Juneteenth — A Celebration of Resilience
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 19, Huber Park in Reynoldsburg will be a celebration of black culture. With live performances, food trucks, vendors, a 5K, and health screenings, this free event will be fun for the whole family.
Celebration of Juneteenth
Kelton House Museum and Garden will be celebrating Juneteenth on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission to the museum will be free where attendees can explore the “Create Your Own History” exhibit, which is a collaboration between Kelton House Executive Director Sarah Richardt and local artist, Catherine “Catz” Stanford.
Jokes on Juneteenth
Wind down your Juneteenth celebrations at this comedy show, from 8 p.m.to 11 p.m. at Bottoms Up Coffee (1069 W. Broad Street). The event is organized by Cap City Comics and tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
Shop Black-Owned Businesses
Supporting black-owned businesses around Columbus is just one of the many ways you can celebrate Juneteenth. We’ve got a huge list of businesses that would love to have your support, and you can check out even more over at the Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce.