By Lynn Turpin – To celebrate the official Juneteenth National Independence Day, events were held throughout the weekend to celebrate the new national holiday. Despite sometimes inclement weather, events were either sold-out or packed to capacity. Local events included the 4th annual Melanin Market, Martin Luther King Foundation Parade, Ms. Juneteeth Pageant, a Blues/R&B Concert and the Orange Crush Festival. On the eastside of Jacksonville, thousands of Juneteenth celebrants walked historic A. Philip Randolph Avenue perusing vendor booths, networking and fellowshipping African American Style. The Martin Luther King Foundation held their 9th annual Juneteenth parade walking from Tea Posh Vegan Restaurant on 8th Street and Jefferson to the Ritz Museum on Davis St. This year’s activities featured free community performances, musical entertainment, family-friendly activities, and workshops and the inaugural Juneteeth Pageant.
Around the corner from TIAA Bank Field on Tallyrand, music fans braved the mud and humidity to enjoy old school and new school artists including Michel’le, Pokey Bear and Keith Sweat perform their musical hits. Last but not least, the controversial Orange Crush festival went off without a hitch, holding various events throughout the city without any causalities or notable controversy. Although the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office created a negative media frenzied atmosphere for city limit activities, Duval’s Juneteeth events created an historic emancipation proclamation atmosphere for the African American community to cerebrate and commemorate the African American Experience.
Juneteenth was signed into order by President Biden, on June 17, 2021, as a federal holdiay. Juneteenth’s commemoration is on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming and enforcing freedom of enslaved people in Texas, which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery. (Redburd/KFP Images)