Celebrate Juneteenth in Middle Tennessee

Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, Texas. By Mrs. Charles Stephenson (Grace Murray) – The Portal to Texas History Austin History Center, Austin Public Library. (Public Domain)

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Several explanations for the delay have been handed down through the years.

In the Nashville area there are several opportunities to commemorate Juneteenth. Here’s a look at some of them on Saturday, June 15th.

1) The Music City Freedom Fest
Saturday, June 15th from 11 AM to 5 PM, celebrate culture, community, music, food, and the community’s businesses at The Music City Freedom Festival, a Juneteenth Celebration at the historic Hadley Park, at 1037 28th Ave. North. It will be full of family friendly fun for all, with local food trucks, local vendors to shop from, and even inflatables for the children, along with local live bands performing, and local live DJ’s mixing it up. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the show, food, and shopping.

2) The Village Church 4th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Fair
Judge Rachel Bell and her team of attorneys will host a record expungement clinic, which has already reached its maximum number of registrations. However, you can still participate in the job and resource fair with companies that hire people with felonies. Saturday, June 15, 8 AM – 2 PM at The Village Church, 301 Madison St. in Madison.

3) Murfreesboro Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 15, 9 AM – 2 PM at the Bradley Academy Museum, 415 South Academy Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37130. Rutherford County’s 1st African American school is celebrating Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day. This American holiday commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America There will be games and activities for the kids, food vendors, art vendors, and live music for the entire family at this annual event.

4) 15th Annual Juneteenth celebration at the McLemore House in Franklin
Hosted by African American Heritage Society of Williamson County, Saturday June 15th, 11 AM – 3 PM. A fun afternoon of great music, food and games – such as gospel choirs and cake walks, with free hot dogs, ice cream and strawberry soda for the kids. Part of their inaugural “Week of Remembrance” to honor, remember, and celebrate the resilience of African Americans amidst racial terror in Nashville.