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Juneteenth celebrations, this weekend and beyond

Bill DeYoung



Hammond organ player Shawn Brown and his band perform today at Albert Whitted Park, for the Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign’s Juneteenth Music Festival. Photo provided.

Wednesday, June 19, is the national Juneteenth holiday, commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States, in 1865. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in 2021.

Here are the public, family-friendly events celebrating Juneteenth, starting today (Saturday, June 15) through Wednesday.

Events are free, unless specified.

Jazz organist Shawn Brown, funk vocalist Siobhan Monique and the rhythm ‘n’ blues-infused Beat Down Band will provide the music for the Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign’s Juneteenth Music Festival, today (4 to 9 p.m.) at Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive in St. Petersburg. There will be local food and vendors.

Brown’s band includes Ralph Atkins on guitar, Kenneth Goolsby on sax and Phillip Nichols on drums.

The festival includes activities for children including a playground, face painting, a hockey shooting rink hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning and more.

Tickets are available here; children up to age 12 are admitted free.

The Good Stock Out of St. Pete’s Juneteenth Festival Sunday at Williams Park. Photo provided.

Today at Tropicana Field, Lot 1 from 4 to 8 p.m.: The Saturday Shoppes Freedom Fest, a family-friendly event with live music, vendors, raffles, giveaways and more.

ROC the Block’s 4th annual Juneteenth-weekend takeover of Raymond James Stadium (in Tampa) starts at 2:30 p.m. today. The all-day Juneteenth Festival includes continuous live music, more than 20 food vendors and 50 retailers, a kids’ zone, fireworks at dusk and more.

At the Tampa Museum of Art, the annual Juneteenth Cultural Celebration – with art, music and dance – is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today.

Dunedin’s Pioneer Park plays host to the city’s annual Juneteenth Celebration, from 5 to 8 p.m. today, with live music and vendors.

Sunday brings a Gospel Fest (and Soul Food Picnic), open to the public, at Bethel Community Baptist Church, 2901 54th Avenue S. (an offering will be collected). Party of the Phyllis Wheatley Rise to Read Campaign.

The nonprofit Tables of Purpose, Inc. – via its “Good Stock Out of St. Pete” movement –  has a Juneteenth Festival planned for Williams Park Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. According to the organization’s website, it’s “to honor natives of St. Petersburg who were educated and reared in the city but have gone out into the world in various career paths and have found successes that bring light and notability to the city of St. Petersburg.”

In Tampa, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts’ Arts Legacy Remix series continues with a public event Monday, 7:30 to 9 p.m.: “Spoken remembrances, writings of historical importance and an original performance of music, poetry and dance created especially for this commemoration.”

Banyan Tree Project’s Juneteenth Gospel Fest takes place 4-7 p.m. Sunday at the Deuces Corner Bandshell, 9th Avenue and 22nd St. South in St. Pete.

Sunday’s Jazzy Jubilee, the Woodson African American Museum’s annual “all-white party” at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, is sold out.

Gospel music scholar Dr. Kevin B. Parrott, who’s also Minister of Music for the Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, oversees Wednesday’s gospel workshop and history lesson The Shout! at the Warehouse Arts District’s Art Xchange campus. Dr., a renowned, for a dynamic journey into the heart and soul of gospel music. Click here for tickets and additional information.

The Tampa Theatre’s Juneteenth Film Festival (Wednesday, 6-10 p.m.) spotlights works by local African American filmmakers; along with a series of short films, the theater will screen Agent X Quarantine, directed by Jabaar Edmond. Following the film, cast and crew will participate in a panel discussion. Admission is free.













  1. Avatar

    Hugh Hazeltine

    June 16, 2024at5:27 pm

    Major General Gordon Granger issued: General Order No. 3 in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865

  2. Avatar

    Danny E White

    June 15, 2024at6:00 pm

    Technically,slavery in the US did not officially ‘end’ until December 6, 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified after it was passed by congress about a year earlier. Juneteenth marks the date Union soldiers delivered news about President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (officially Proclamation 95, which was in fact an Executive Order) in Galveston, TX. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued two years prior to the end of the Civil War as a war strategy against the Confederacy. The Proclamation did not ‘free’ ALL enslaved people, only those held in held in states that had seceded from the Union. Texas seceded from the Union on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States on March 2, 1861. News of Lincoln’s Proclamation was ignored by the Confederate states partly because they did not want to free their enclaved laborers who helped sustain the war effort, and partly because Confederate states did not recognize Lincoln as their President. Juneteenth celebrates the date enslaved people in the westernmost territory learned that they had been ‘freed’ two years prior by an Executive Order, yet they had no knowledge of such.

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