Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the day the last African American slaves in the United States gained their freedom.
Though President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, slaves in Texas were not freed until June 19, 1865, when the Union army finally had enough presence to enforce the proclamation.
This year’s celebration in Fort Wayne consists of a week-long series of events starting on Sunday, June 13, and concluding with a gathering at McMillen Park on Saturday, June 19.
Fort Wayne City Liaison Palermo Galindo will be on hand to read the Proclamation at the Elder Jubilee, honoring six community elders who are aged 90 and up, as the week kicks off from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, June 13.
Then Sowing Seeds, gardening with Smiley’s Garden, will be 6-8 p.m. Monday, June 14. The Power of Black Economics, a lecture of utmost importance to the community, will be 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 15.
Freedom Fest: A Day of Remembrance, showcasing local black artists, will be 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 16. Lawn & Learn, an interactive community discussion at the Urban League, will be 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 17. And Under the Tent, a young adult night at Ayahso Nice Jamaican Grill & Creamery, will be 8 p.m.-midnight Friday, June 18.
The Art Leadership Center Promenade Passing of the Torch Ceremony starts things off on the final day from 10:30-11 a.m. Saturday, June 19. At noon, a parade will start at the corner of Warsaw and Oxford streets. It will proceed down Oxford and end at McMillen Park around 1:30 p.m.
Several musical acts will perform in McMillen Park, and a basketball game featuring New York Giants wide receiver Austin Mack will take place. Merch booths, information booths, plenty of food options, and a bounce house for kids will be available.