You may have noticed a few new flags adorning downtown’s streets the past week. These flags of green, red, and black aren’t random; they were placed in honor of Juneteenth — a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of all enslaved Black Americans — coming up this Sun., June 19.
If you’re curious about why Juneteenth is such an important holiday, we think that ArtsBuild’s James McKissic explains it far better than we ever could. You can also check out this “story of Juneteenth Observance” recording from the Unity Group.
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate + commemorate the holiday, check out these local events.
- Inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Run & Mrs. Opal Lee Walk | Sat., June 18 | 7 a.m. | The Howard School, 2500 S. Market St. | $20+ | This half marathon + walk honors Opal Lee, the “grandmother of Juneteenth” who campaigned for decades to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
- Southside Juneteenth Jubilee | Sat., June 18 | 1-4 p.m. | The Bethlehem Center | Free | This event will feature local vendors, music, food trucks, and more.
- Juneteenth National Freedom Day Parade | Sat., June 18 | 3 p.m. | Carver Recreation Center, 600 N. Orchard Knob Ave. | Free, RSVP | Celebrate and commemorate the holiday at this parade.
- Legacy Music Festival | Sat., June 18 | 8 p.m. | Miller Park | Free | Enjoy an outdoor screening of “Summer of Soul,” a documentary about The Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 — local musicians will also pay homage to artists who performed at the event.
- Chattanooga’s Juneteenth Popup Shop | Sun., June 19 | 1-5 p.m. | Southside Community Park, 3501 Central Ave. | Support local Black-owned businesses, plus a live DJ, dance performance, and more.
- Juneteenth & Gordon Granger Program | Sun., June 19 | 2 p.m. | Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center, 3370 Lafayette Rd. | Free | This hike takes a look at General Gordon Granger and his roles in both the Battle of Chickamauga + Juneteenth.
- Juneteenth Commemoration Ceremony & Concert | Sun., June 19 | 7 p.m. | UTC’s Chamberlain Pavilion, 615 McCallie Ave. | Free | Bring your lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy food, vendors, musical and spoken word performances + American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.