This article originally ran on June 16, 2021, originally written by Jalysa King.
Juneteenth is synonymous with freedom. It became a federal holiday in 2021, and the name is a merging of “June” and “nineteenth.” On that date in 1865, a message of liberation reached Galveston, Texas. Thousands of black people found out slavery had ended, and they were free.
Black Americans in Texas and other states designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as the South have been celebrating Juneteenth for 150 years; however, in the last decade celebrations have expanded throughout the United States, including right here in the Midwest. Here are six Juneteenth-related events in Central Indiana, most with free admission, where you can experience a variety of music, activities and food.
4:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential site
This is the second year for the festival, and it will feature more than 20 local food vendors offering everything from vegan dishes to soul food. Also, the story of Dolly Johnson, the first black chef/caterer to work in the White House, will be re-enacted by Freetown Village Inc.
11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
There will be authors, artists and musicians who will focus on cultural literacy. Also, there will be a presentation on the history of Juneteenth. In addition, activities for kids and teens will be available in the Learning Curve, which is a tech-focused area in the library with interactive elements.
11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Performances featuring music and poetry will be a major part of this outdoor event.
12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
617 Indiana Avenue
There will be live music, food trucks and cultural tours with guide Sampson Livingston. All ages will find something to enjoy at this outdoor event.
5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Black-owned businesses will be part of this free community celebration. There will be live music provided by DJ D Nyce, plus a kid zone with face painting and bounce houses. Also, Conner Prairie balloon rides are available for a fee.
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
COhatch Broad Ripple
There will be a cocktail hour and small plates, followed by a panel discussion about the significance of Juneteenth. Panelists are Britt S. Griffin, Kelli N. Jones, Joseph Pinnell and Misty Resendez, Ph.D.
Diane Moore is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Indy Maven. You can follow her on Instagram @whatdianeloves.
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