After being sidelined by the pandemic last year, Fresno’s Juneteenth celebration returns bigger than ever with a five-day run starting Thursday.
Here is the schedule of events assembled by The Fresno Juneteenth Collaborative for America’s newest federal holiday, which was signed into law last year by President Joe Biden.
- The opening ceremony is at the African American Museum from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be a local artist exhibit, poetry reading, music, vendors, and a drum circle.
- Dance Explosion at the Peerless Building on 1755 Broadway from 8 p.m. to midnight. The event includes a paint-and-sip class, food, and a live DJ.
- Jubilee Celebration at Valdez Hall at the Fresno Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The holiday’s biggest celebration starts with a morning downtown parade followed by live performances, music and dancing, and a drum show. Again, there will be vendors and food.
- Inspiration Jubilee at Valdez Hall at the Fresno Convention Center from noon to 7 p.m. In addition to having many of the same attractions as Saturday’s event, there will be an African Show, a continental choir, schoolyard rap, and Buffalo Soldiers.
- Fresno City Hall flag-raising, Freedom 5K Run/Walk, and other events from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The run/walk at Woodward Park starts the activities, followed by a flag-raising ceremony at City Hall in the evening and a finale celebration at the downtown Cultural Arts Park in front of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.
Questions? Click on the Fresno Juneteenth Collaborative website here.
What’s the Significance of Juneteenth?
Juneteenth celebrations have gained widespread influence throughout the U.S. in recent years amid nationwide protests focusing on the mistreatment and unfair killing of Black people, some by police officers.
However, many black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth for decades with a cookout, a parade, a community festival, or a soulful rendition of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”
And, as Juneteenth celebrations have become more popular, they’ve also become multiracial. Americans from diverse backgrounds increasingly are acknowledging the struggles of Blacks for social equity while also celebrating Black culture and the progress Blacks are making.
Juneteenth marks the day on June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free. The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863 but it was not enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.