Commemorate Juneteenth with these events around Metro Detroit

Mackenzie Thompson
The Detroit News

Sharea Ayers hopes that visitors who'll celebrate Juneteenth during Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit’s Freedom Weekend will leave more educated about the federal holiday and with lots of anticipation for next year’s events.

“I want people to feel inspired and proud to be Black. That’s the biggest thing for me — making sure we cultivate a space to celebrate who we are,” said Ayers, founder and director of Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit. 

“Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit is an organization of people and businesses from the community who have come together since 2019 to increase awareness, spread information about Juneteenth, and put on celebratory events. Our goal is to activate, educate, celebrate and have an inclusive annual event to acknowledge Juneteenth around the city of Detroit.”

The Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll on the Avenue of Fashion in Detroit.

On Jan. 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing enslaved people. It wasn’t until 1865 when federal troops arrived in Texas to ensure that all enslaved people were freed.

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, honors the end to slavery in the United States and is known as the longest-running African American holiday.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Forty-two years later on June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit (JJD) is one of many organizations in Detroit that organizes events to help celebrate and honor the importance of Juneteenth and its significance to the Black community.

In 2019, JJD partnered with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to put on a celebratory mini-festival and in 2020 hosted a live production on Facebook and Instagram. The first jubilee stroll was held on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion in 2021 where businesses gathered along the sidewalk and allowed people to shop market style. 

This year spectators can expect a three-day weekend packed with events like the Rhythm and Art Block Party, Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll and Freedom Fest June 17-19. Last year the event drew a crowd of more than 4,000 people. This year the number of people in attendance is expected to double since there will be events throughout the entire weekend. Thanks to prominent sponsors like Black Leaders Detroit, Livegistics, Sloppy Crab and the Eastern Market Brewing Company, all events are free.

Juneteenth Jubilee is committed to providing a safe environment for members of the community by enforcing COVID-19 protocols and providing masks to attendees.

For more information about Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit, visit website, add them on Facebook at Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit and follow them on Instagram @juneteenthjubilee_detroit.

Here's a list of Metro Detroit Juneteenth events:

"Summer of Soul" at Campus Martius: The Downtown Detroit Partnership and Motown Museum have teamed up to present a special screening of this Oscar award-winning movie directed by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, which documents the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16. Campus Martius is located at 800 Woodward, downtown Detroit.

Rhythm and Art Block Party: From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 17, join Jubilee Detroit for a celebration of music and art at the Eastern Market Brewing Company, 2515 Riopelle, Detroit. Walk around and enjoy work from visual artists, sounds from musicians and patronize local food trucks. Stick around for the release of Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit’s very own beer “Jubilee Gold.”

Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll: Shop from a selection of 50+ vendors Saturday, June 18, along the Livernois Avenue of Fashion from noon to 6 p.m. This event will also feature a creative artist hub, live podcast, kids village, main stage with live entertainment and health fair with mobile health screening units. 

Freedom Fest: June 19 Juneteenth Jubilee Detroit’s Freedom Weekend will conclude with a festival and family friendly events for Father’s Day at Eastern Market (Shed 5) from noon until 6 p.m.

APRI Detroit/ Downriver Juneteenth Celebration: This is a free event hosted by APRI Detroit/ Downriver on Saturday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. where educators, speakers, poets, musicians, dancers will present. Lunch and refreshments will be provided for all attendees. 10550 Dix Ave., Dearborn.

Juneteenth Jubilee Weekend: Located at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, on Saturday, June 18, take part in a treasure hunt that includes visiting historic sites around downtown and Detroit’s East Side. On Sunday, listen to presentations from the League of Women Voters about voting right issues. Enjoy sounds from musicians as they take you on a journey through time in the form of music. The Wright museum is at 315 E. Warren, Detroit.

Juneteenth Celebration Parade: The city of Dearborn is hosting its 2nd annual Juneteenth Mobility Stroll and Roll June 18 from 10 a.m. to noon. The parade will begin at Michigan Avenue and Schaefer Road.

Juneteenth Heritage Celebration: Wayne County Parks and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks will present the event Saturday, noon-4 p.m. at Nankin Mills Park in Westland. The event will feature a variety of activities that will share the history and impact of the Juneteenth holiday as well as a celebration of music and arts. Activities will include a Kids Zone, crafts, food vendors, storytelling, special presentations and much more. 33275 Edward Hines Drive, off Ann Arbor Trail just west of Farmington Road, Westland.

Farmington Area Juneteenth Celebration: June 17-19 the Nardin Park Church will host its 4th annual Juneteenth Celebration. Friday, families can watch a movie under the stars from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Nardin Park Church, 29887 W. 11 Mile, Farmington Hills. Saturday, there will be a Freedom Celebration with food, fun, and activities from noon to 6 p.m. The celebration will end Sunday with an intercultural ancestral & collective healing event from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Sterling Heights African American Coalition: Residents are invited to join the Sterling Heights African American Coalition at Dodge Park Farmers Market Pavilion, 40620 Utica Road, Friday, June 17, from 5 to 9 p.m. Learn about Juneteenth and celebrate with food, entertainment, demonstrations, and educational vendors. There will also be food trucks, live music, dancing and poetry. 

Juneteenth: Fiber, Art and Culture: Sunday, June 19, join Global Detroit and Oloman Café, 10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, 4 to 6 p.m. to hear from a panel with the women of Common Bond, Great Lakes African American Quilters Network, and the African Bureau of Immigrant and Social Affairs at Oloman Cafe & Gallery. 

Wayne State University Juneteenth Closing Celebration:  Join WSU for their Freedom March on Friday, June 17 from Wayne State University Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to Gullen Mall from 2 to 5 p.m. Stay for the African dance and drums performance, closing remarks, and networking afterwards. This event is free with registration. Wayne State University Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to 5221 Gullen Mall.

Learn about the Bill Pickett Rodeo at Source Booksellers: On June 17, we will learn about the only Black Rodeo led by Bill Pickett in the United States and watch a video from 5 to 6 p.m. The Black Rodeo may never reach Detroit, but its history is important to African American culture. Pop-up Love Travels will also be present in the store. For more info, call (313) 832-1155. Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass Ave, Unit 105, Detroit, MI 48201.

New Center Park Juneteenth Dance Party and Friday Night Film: Join 7 to 9 p.m. for theJuneteenth Dance Party on June 17. Music by Gary Chandler. The film “Respect” will follow the dance party. Free popcorn for all attendees. New Center Park, 2998 West Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202.

Storytime with Alma Greer: We will host an in-store storytime for the beautiful picture book “Free at Last: A Juneteenth Poem” by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle and illustrated by Alex Bostic on June 18 from noon to 1 p.m. The picture book will be read by StoryTellers and Educator Mrs. Alma Greer. For more information, call (313) 832-1155. Location: Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass Ave, Unit 105, Detroit, MI 48201.

Northern Emancipation Day – A Conversation: There will be a conversation about Northern Emancipation Day celebration and Southern (TEXAS) Juneteenth Celebrations June 18 from 4 to 5 p.m. with local historian and bookstore staff. We will highlight the book “Juneteenth” by the Texan and highly acclaimed historian Annette Gordon-Reed. We celebrated the release of this book with the Detroit Public Library with City Historian Jamon Jordan last year. Learn more about this book here. For more info, call (313) 832-1155. Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass Ave, Unit 105, Detroit, MI 48201.

Juneteenth Celebrations at Source Booksellers: We will celebrate with yummy sweet treats from James Beard nominated black-owned Kesseler Bakery in Dallas, Texas on June 19. We will have some of their baked goods for sale along with the cookbook, “Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations.” This is the first cookbook to celebrate and investigate Juneteenth, from critically acclaimed food writer, Nicole Taylor, who draws on her own experiences observing the holiday over the past ten years. For more info, call (313) 832-1155. Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass Ave, Unit 105, Detroit, MI 48201.