Juniteenth 2021: 11 events in the Charlotte area in honor of “Freedom Day”


June 19 or June 10 commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On that day in 1865, enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas learned they were free – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, enslaved people were legally freed across the country.

Currently, 47 states and the District of Columbia ceremonially recognize Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day and Black Independence Day – as a state day or public holiday. Although not a national holiday, efforts to get the Juneteenth recognized at the federal level intensified as nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism increased following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Would you like to celebrate June 15th? Here is a list of events in the Charlotte area.

Opening day of the Rosa Parks farmers market (June 15)
Western complex
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

African drumming, music, entertainment, and food samples courtesy of the Mecklenburg County Health Department will usher in the June 16 celebrations that open the sixth season of the Rosa Parks Farmers Market. Visit the outdoor marketplace at its new location, the West Complex in the Historic West End. Continue reading.

Carolinas Tenth June Festival (June 17-20)
Plaza Midwood
The times vary

One of the longest running juneteenth events in Charlotte returns for the 24th time. Several events over several days are spread across the Plaza Midwood district, home of the House of Africa, where the festival originated.

Highlights include an interactive drum circle, freedom march, fashion show, food, vendors, and other entertainment. Continue reading.

Juniteenth Jam! (June 18-19)
Multiple locations – The Square, Victoria Yards, NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza
Times vary

Mix art, entertainment and black history during this immersive two-day celebration. Get moving with interactive dance sessions led by Reba Bowens and Ginga Capoeira, enjoy a hip-hop performance with multiple Charlotte artists, and the Durag Hall of Fame art installation. Continue reading.

Juneteenth Rock Hill (June 18-19)
6:30 in the evening

The annual event will be virtual for a second year due to Covid. However, viewers can still enjoy the Celebration of Freedom lineup, which includes local artists, poets, and musicians, streamed live via Juneteenth Rock Hill’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Continue reading.

Durag Festival (June 19)
Multiple locations – Victoria Yards, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Camp North End
Times vary

The organizers say this year’s festival is bigger than ever. The fourth annual Durag Fest, nicknamed the “Met Gala of Durags”, kicks off with its “Deep Wave Day Party” and the Black Vendor Marketplace. Experience live art creating Durag Hall of Fame portraits and end the night with an adult swim. Stage performances serve as the backdrop for the street fashion show and feature durags that flutter to the nape of the neck or to the soles of the shoes. See the most wavy tendrils at the annual wave check. Continue reading.

Ebony Festival (June 19)
Rotary Centennial Pavilion
Noon to 5 p.m.

For the third edition of this June 15th celebration, head to downtown Gastonia to celebrate black culture and support black businesses. Continue reading.

Queen City Juneteenth Festival (June 19)
Fran’s Kids Boys & Girls Center
Noon to 6 p.m.

Enjoy culture, crafts, food, vendors and entertainment for the whole family. Continue reading.

Black Joy (June 19th)
ZEN, a creative studio
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Join visual artists Alicia McDaniel and Faith Rivers for a stimulating exhibition of the mind and psyche. Continue reading.

Black in America (June 19)
First station park
14 o’clock

An open discussion about black youth, organized by the NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg. See more.

Juniteenth Drive-Thru Celebration (June 19)
Beatties Ford Road (near LaSalle Street)
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Celebrate unity with Charlotte’s Historic West End community along the Beatties Ford Corridor. The organizers also continue their struggle to end state-sanctioned violence, free blacks, and end white supremacy. See more.

Charlotte Skyline lights up for Juneteenth (June 19)
Uptown Charlotte

For a second year, local activist Brittany Moore is leading the effort to illuminate the skyscrapers in Uptown in green, yellow and red (the colors of the Pan-African flag) in honor of June 10th. Participating buildings include Bank of America tower and Corporate center, Duke Energy Center, Truist Center and Barings.

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