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Freedom Center to host Juneteenth Jubilee

stone building facade reading National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It is early morning or late evening in the image
Bill Rinehart
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host a Juneteenth Jubilee from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 19, 2024.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is planning a big party for this year's Juneteenth holiday.

Museum President and COO Woodrow Keown, Jr. says the inaugural Juneteenth Jubilee is meant to be reminiscent of early Juneteenth celebrations that featured food, music and comradery.

"Juneteenth is a day of jubilation — for the millions of enslaved people who were finally free and for their ancestors and their brothers and sisters of every color who moved one step closer to the promise of freedom this nation was founded on," Keown says in a release. "We're inviting the community to join us for this tribute to liberation and celebration of joy."

RELATED: This Juneteenth celebration has been going strong for since 1988

The festival on June 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Freedom Way will include music, events, vendors, food trucks and more. Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Jr., will headline the event, delivering a motivational speech.

The event will conclude with a march to the banks of Ohio River, "the symbolic River Jordan, over which thousands of enslaved people crossed into freedom on the Underground Railroad."

Organizers say there will also be a theme of raising awareness about current issues such as health equity, economic empowerment, and voter education and engagement.

"June 19, 1865, was a pivotal day in our nation's history, but for African Americans in this country, it was still just the first step in a long, winding road to freedom," says Keown. "The journey to freedom continues for so many, so it's important that we remember how many people are still waiting for their Juneteenth. June 19 must be a day that we recommit ourselves to the pursuit of inclusive freedom."

LISTEN: Juneteenth's history, explained

Juneteenth is marked on June 19, the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galvaston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and President Abraham Lincoln had freed enslaved peoples more than two years prior with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

While Juneteenth only just became a federal holiday in 2021, Cincinnati has hosted an annual celebration since 1988.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.