The Detroit News
June 14, 2023
Correction: The date of the African World Festival was incorrect. The event will be held July 14-16.
July 4th was proclaimed the day America became a free nation. But for more than a century after Independence Day, Black Americans remained enslaved.
The Emancipation Proclamation, signed on Jan. 1, 1863, legally freed all slaves in the U.S., but slavery was not yet fully abolished. It wasn’t until about two years later on June 19th, 1865, that Gen. Gordon Granger officially declared from the president of the United States that all slaves were freed. The day the announcement was made became known as Juneteenth.
First formally observed in Texas in 1866, Juneteenth became a holiday that slowly spread throughout the country as Black Americans moved north during the Great Migration.
In Michigan, early celebrations of emancipation were observed Aug. 1 when Frederick Douglass spoke in Battle Creek after the Civil War. For many years, the day remained for celebrating emancipation in Michigan.
Juneteenth celebrations began decades ago in Michigan, but it wasn’t officially celebrated in Detroit until the 1990s. In 2005, Michigan was the 18th state in the nation to declare the third Saturday of June as Juneteenth. Then in June 2021, it became a federal holiday, and more recently passed the Senate to become an official state holiday in Michigan.
Across Detroit, many events are being held during the month of June to observe Juneteenth.
Oakland County Parks will mark the holiday by waiving entry fees on Monday at all of its parks, where people can walk the trails and enjoy picnic areas, dog parks, the beaches and fishing areas.
“Oakland County Parks is proud to actively support and participate in celebrations of the Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday,” said parks director Chris Ward. “We welcome you to enjoy the many restorative and healthy benefits of spending time outdoors enjoying nature and your favorite recreational activities by visiting our parks at no cost on June 19. We also hope to see you at one of excellent community events planned throughout the week.”
Here’s a list of more events to celebrate this year’s observances.
“Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited” Exhibit: Now through Aug. 27. 5401 Woodward, Detroit Historical Museum. A multimedia visual arts and photography exhibit is stopping in Detroit to bring awareness to Black philanthropy across the state.
Black Business Showcase: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Friday; 6-10 p.m. Saturday, June 16-17. 1901 Grand River, Night Market – Beacon Park. The pop-up markets will feature an exclusively Black-owned small business showcase from vendors across Detroit to honor and celebrate Juneteenth.
Canton Second Annual Juneteenth Community Celebration: 1-10 p.m. Saturday, June 17. Heritage Park Amphitheater. Canton Township proudly partners with Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated – Ypsilanti Chapter to host the Second Annual Juneteenth Community Celebration during Canton’s Liberty Fest.
30th Annual Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival: Juneteenth Recital— Carlos Simon and Friends: 2 p.m. Sunday, June 18. 5200 John R, Detroit. The DIA hosts composer Carlos Simon in a special Juneteenth performance as part of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. An Atlanta native, Simon’s inspiration comes from his connections to gospel music and his lineage of preachers.
Beats and BBQ Juneteenth Kickoff: 6:30-10:30 p.m., Friday, June 16. 1400 Porter, Detroit, at Batch Brewing Company. Join the Beats & BBQ Block Party, held at Batch Brewing Company, as the celebratory kickoff for Juneteenth Freedom Weekend. Enjoy live performances, art installations, delectable BBQs, and more!
Freedom Day 5K for Health, Wealth, and Literacy: 8 a.m.- noon, Saturday, June 17, 8425 W. McNichols, Detroit, Marygrove Conservancy. Participate in the Freedom Day 5K for health, wealth, and literacy, a walk/run event taking place at Marygrove Conservancy. This fundraiser supports organizations that break barriers to financial, educational, and physical freedom in Detroit’s community.
Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, June 17, on the Historic Avenue of Fashion (Livernois) in Detroit. Celebrate economic freedom by joining us for the Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll, supporting Black entrepreneurship on the Historic Avenue of Fashion. Experience a unique shopping day filled with entertainment, giveaways, an HBCU tailgate, and more!
Freedom Fest: noon-6 p.m. Sunday, June 18, Shed 5 in Eastern Market. Join us at Shed 5 for Freedom Fest, a partnership between Black Leaders Detroit, Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit, 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. This celebration of Juneteenth will also include a special treat for Father’s Day. Register at mdbba.com/juneteenth.
Mount Clemens Juneteenth Celebration: Various events Friday-Monday, June 16-19, at Cairns Community Center, 58 Orchard St., Mount Clemens. Friday, 6-9 p.m.: A meet and greet for bringing together organizations and people who support individuals struggling with homelessness, unemployment, food insecurity, financial hardship, medical or mental health conditions, and other challenges. Saturday, 4-8 p.m.: A day of fun games for the whole family. Indoors, families can enjoy chess, checkers, spades, U.N.O., board games, and more! Lawn games will be held outside. Families can enjoy cornhole, frisbees, sack races, football, hula hoops, etc. Sunday, June 18, 6-9 p.m.: Celebrate Father’s Day with tasty desserts for dads to enjoy, including the popular Nothing Bundt Cakes, to close their Father’s Day. Desserts are free until depleted. Monday, June 19, 2-6 p.m.: The official Juneteenth celebration will include live music, food trucks, business, and community vendors, bounce houses, and games.
Emagine Juneteenth Film Festival: Now – end of June. 200 N. Main, Royal Oak. The festival runs throughout the month of June and shows a different film each week. Tickets are $5 with all proceeds going to the United Negro College Fund. Tickets are available at Emagine-Entertainment.com.
Juneteenth Detroit Parade and Festival: June 19. 71 Oakman Blvd., Highland Park. Parade begins at 1 p.m. There will be games, entertainment, a fashion show and a cookoff. Free.
40th African World Festival: July 14-16 at Hart Plaza, downtown Detroit. While not part of Juneteenth celebrations, this annual festival is presented by the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and features entertainment, food, live demonstrations and vendors. The opening night headliner is Parliament Funkadelic featuring George Clinton. The event is free for museum members. Memberships are $5 and up.