On June 19, Milwaukee and beyond will celebrate again Juneteenth Day, the commemoration of the nation of the end of slavery in the United States.

Here’s what to know about this day, including what it means, when our city began commemorating it, and where to celebrate this year.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Army soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that all slaves were free, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

It is a cultural celebration, emphasizing the education and achievements of African Americans.

When is June 16?

Every year, Milwaukee celebrates Juneteenth on the actual day: June 19, according to a previous Sentinel Journal report.

This year, June 19 falls on a Sunday. Some cities still hold their celebrations on the weekend closest to the holidays.

When did Milwaukee start celebrating Juneteenth?

In Milwaukee, public festivities for Juneteenth Day were first held in 1971. Its celebration is one of the oldest in the country.

How it happened in Milwaukee

Margaret Rogers, then a staff member at Northcott Neighborhood House, told others how much she enjoyed a June 19 celebration in Georgia when she was there to visit her grandparents, according to a previous Sentinel Journal report. Northcott is a community center in the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee.

Based on Rogers’ experience, Northcott decided to start a similar tradition in Milwaukee – led in its early days by festival executive director Marvin Hannah and coordinator Jan Kemp-Cole – and the festival quickly became the opening unofficial summer.

How the celebration grew

In 1972, the Milwaukee Journal reported about 3,000 attendees at the Juneteenth festival. This number rose to 100,000 in 1977 and landed between 160,000 and 170,000 in 1994.

RELATED:June 16 festivities in Milwaukee will be a celebration of freedom but also an opportunity to educate

Ways to celebrate in 2022

• Annual parade on June 19, festival

The grand and vibrant tradition that is the annual June 19 Parade and Street Festival, hosted by Northcott, will once again be held along King Drive between West Burleigh and West Center streets.

Since Juneteenth is the same day as Father’s Day this year, the theme for the celebration is “Celebrate Culture Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: A Tribute to Dads…Father, Teacher, Protector, and Hero.”

Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee’s first black mayorwill serve as Grand Marshal for the celebrations.

The Jubilee parade typically includes floats, dance and music groups, churches, fraternities, sororities, elected officials and sports personalities, according to community center website.

The 51st part of the celebration will also include float, marching band, dance/drill competitions and a cultural arts mural competition – all with cash prizes for first, second and third place. , according to the website.

The parade, which runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., begins at North 14th Street and West Atkinson Avenue, heads south to King Drive, then east to Locust Street. TMJ4 has partnered with the community center to provide live coverage of the parade.

The street festival typically features food, vendors, music, contests, games, attractions, community resources, history, dancing, and more.

There will be a “Children’s Zone” for children 12 and under at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School playground. It will include carnival rides, games, petting zoo, ice cream truck, prizes, music, free food, a fire safety house from the Milwaukee Fire Department, the Milwaukee Police Department and McGruff the Crime Dog, the website said.

A “teenage zone”, for teens 13 and older, will be held at Clinton Rose Park. Attendees can expect a DJ from Jammin ‘98.3, basketball games against police and firefighters, basketball drills with coaches and contests with gift card prizes. There will also be a Dutch double competition (three-person team) with prize money and three-on-three basketball tournaments.

Other June 19 festivities will include the annual meeting competition for Miss and Mister Juneteenth and Little Miss Juneteenth and Junior Mister Juneteenth, with monetary prizes and scholarships.

A concert will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., according to the website.

• New “Juneteenth Legacy Breakfast”

The Institute for the Preservation of African American Music and Arts will commemorate June 19 by hosting an inaugural Community Appreciation Breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday at 3200 W. Hampton Avenue.

According the event website.

A scholarship fund is being established that will benefit several youth-serving organizations, sororities, fraternities and other civic organizations, the website said.

Tickets are $35 each. To register, visit bit.ly/3NNauQ8.

• American Black Holocaust Museum

America’s Black Holocaust Museum will offer a full day of programming, entertainment and education on June 19, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Dads will receive free admission that day in honor of Father’s Day.

The museum will also have a table set during the annual festival mentioned above.

The Museum, 401 W. North Ave., reopened in February after almost 14 years.

James E. Causey of Journal Sentinel staff and former intern Asha Prihar contributed to this report.

Contact Hannah Kirby at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.

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