Celebrate Juneteenth locally in Nashville, TN

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The Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge commemorating Juneteenth in 2020.| Photo by @johncooper4nashville

This Sun., June 19 is Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of all enslaved Black Americans. It was on June 19, 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to proclaim the end of slavery.

If you’re curious about why Juneteenth is such an important holiday, we think that local historians can explain it far better than we ever could. To reflect on the day, you can check out the following resources:

  • A brief history provided by Vanderbilt University Associate Professor of History Brandon Byrd.
  • This interview with Brigette Jones, Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery’s director of equitable partnerships.
  • The Fort Negley Descendants Project’s Juneteenth presentation held last weekend at the Tennessee State Museum. The discussion — moderated by Dr. Angela Sutton of Vanderbilt University — centered on what Fort Negley means for the descendants of those that fought for and labored to build the fort.

To celebrate + commemorate the holiday, check out these local events.

  • Jam on Jefferson Juneteenth Celebration | Fri., June 17 | 7-11 p.m. | Solberg Studios | $10 | The recording studio will host guests for live music, games, and local vendors.
  • Juneteenth Freedom Day Ride | Sat., June 18 | 7 a.m. | Watkins Park, 616 17th Ave. N. | Free | There will be a 25-mile self-guided marked route around the city + a 10-mile ride led by the Music City Dope Peddlers.
  • Juneteenth Festival | Sat., June 18 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Downtown Franklin | Free | The Franklin Justice and Equity Coalition will host its annual Juneteenth celebration with music, food trucks, and children’s activities.
  • Black on Buchanan Juneteenth Block Party | Sat., June 18 | 12-9 p.m. | Buchanan Street | This celebration features live entertainment, a food and vendor village + community resources.
  • Music City Freedom Festival | Sat., June 18-Sun., June 19 | 12-8 p.m. | Hadley Park, 1037 28th Ave. N. | Free | The annual Juneteenth celebration will have local bands, vendors, food trucks, and children’s activities.
  • A Celebration of Freedom! Juneteenth Concert | Sun., June 19 | 4 p.m. | Belmont University, McAfee Concert Hall | $18 | The Nashville African American Wind Symphony will perform its debut concert — tickets are free for ages 5 and under.
  • Juneteenth615 | Sun., June 19 | 5-10 p.m. | Fort Negley Park | The event will begin with a proclamation ceremony, followed by an evening of performance art, food trucks, and fireworks.
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