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Celebrate Juneteenth at Several Metroplex Events

Lifestyle

Juneteenth Freedom Flag | Image by Shutterstock

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Juneteenth (short for “June 19”) is soon to see its second celebration as a national holiday, in part due to the work of activist and Fort Worth resident Opal Lee.

This year, events across the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex will honor the anniversary of the day in 1865 when federal troops entered Galveston, Texas, to seize control of the region and guarantee freedom for enslaved people in Texas.


Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and a half years before, slavery continued in much of the U.S. June 19 represents the beginning of its true end.

Aside from serving as its setting, Texas played another unique part in the historical event’s journey to becoming federally commemorated: the Lone Star State was the first in the nation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday. It did so in 1979.

Texas continued to play a significant role in the history of the Juneteenth holiday through Ms. Lee.

Lee’s passionate advocacy for nationalizing the celebration well represents the impact one person — one Texan — can have upon society. She began her mission to have Juneteenth recognized as a national holiday in 2016 when she started her online petition and walked the 1,400 miles from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C.

Lee finally realized her dream on June 17 of last year, when President Joe Biden signed the bill acknowledging June 19 as the 11th federal holiday. It is the first to be enacted since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983, celebrating his birthday.

This year Juneteenth National Independence Day falls on a Sunday and will be recognized federally on Monday, June 20. Celebrations will be held across the metroplex all weekend, starting with Arlington’s Juneteenth Jubilee, a three-day event at various locations near Downtown Arlington.

In its second year, 2022’s jubilee will be held on June 17, 18, and 19, including live music, poetry readings, dancing, shopping, and food trucks.

On Saturday, June 18, the event kicks off with a screening of “A Place of Our Own,” the first episode of a new documentary series about black residents in a small Arlington community known as “The Hill.”

The first episode, “Echoes from the Hill,” includes photos and interviews with community residents and their descendants. Free screenings will be shown in the City Council Chambers at Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street in Arlington.

Another Juneteenth event held Saturday and Sunday is Unity Weekend, hosted by Dallas Southern Pride. The event will offer health and wellness screenings along with COVID-19 vaccinations, a festival, a pool party, an Emancipation Ball, and concerts.

Unity Weekend also serves as a platform for professionals to meet and network. A forum will provide an opportunity to discuss community issues while celebrating freedom through art, music, and cultural festivals. Tickets for various events start at $10.

Ms. Opal Lee will celebrate the first anniversary of the Juneteenth legislation with Opal’s Walk for Freedom on Saturday, a 2.5-mile walk that will start at 8 a.m. with breakfast at Evans Avenue Plaza in Fort Worth. You can also organize your own Opal’s Walk to celebrate Juneteenth’s first anniversary.

Other activities available over the holiday include seeing art exhibits that celebrate culture and community.

“Congregate” is the second exhibit presented by Kinfolk House, a new collaborative art space in a historic 100-year-old home in Fort Worth’s Polytechnic Heights neighborhood. The summer exhibition includes works by three Texas-born artists.

“Congregate” examines the value of community and the isolation many people felt during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kinfolk House challenged the artists to address specific topics while illustrating community in their works, such as what makes a community and the joys and struggles of trying to keep one together. Hallie Beatrice Carpenter, Sedrick’s grandmother and the original homeowner, was the inspiration for Kinfolk House, owned by artists Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby.

The exhibit runs through July 30 at 1913 Wallace Street in Fort Worth: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Another exhibit, on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, is titled “Black Every Day.” It delves into the richness of black culture, covering themes such as family, community, labor, and excellence. The photographs depict various aspects of black people’s daily lives. The collection includes unknown photographers as well as photography by Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and James Van Der Zee.

Admission to the exhibit, which runs through September 11, is free. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art is located at 3501 Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth and is closed Monday but open Sunday noon–5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; and Thursday 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

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Kevin
Kevin
3 months ago

Just FYI to the author of this article: The Juneteenth Colors are Red White and Blue. Not Pan African Colors. There is a Juneteenth Flag.