Juneteenth in Nashville

Omari Booker (center) paints a mural on liberation through music at the ‘Blacks on Buchanan’ Juneteenth event.

Nashville took pause to celebrate a big moment in American History with music, food and coming together as a people. Juneteenth events too place all across the city in memory of the past.

“Throughout history Juneteenth has been known by many names, including: Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, and today a National Holiday,” Vice President Kamala Harris told the entire country on the morning of June 18.”

What was once a minor holiday only recognized by people of color is now celebrated by the entire country. It is the newest federal holiday since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Black Girls Do Bike, Bike 4 Equality and Oasis Bike Workshop held a 10 to 25 mile Freedom Day bike ride. Members of the group rode through Nashville with freedom literally blowing in their faces as they spread their joy like the freed men and women on the first Juneteenth in 1865.

With so many celebrants, ‘Black on Buchanan’ saw Buchanan St. literally covered with people.   With comedian Josh Black performing some of his stand-up and with the help of DJ Cori, the event became a party of its own. The event had people up and dancing together. There were also local Black owned and run shops selling their wares to the bustling street.

Artist Omari Booker displayed a community painting called ‘Liberation through Music’ recalling  different periods in time.

“The far left are African Drummers playing away together,” said Booker. “The center is Bessie Smith, a blues player from the ‘Jazz Age’ of the 20th century, known for being the ‘Empress of Blues.’ Her biggest hit was ‘Backwater Blues.’ “The right side shows modern day artists, like the critically acclaimed Jay-Z. All different forms of African American music bring joy, despite difficult times.”

Juneteenth brought elements from the day’s celebrations all to one spot—food trucks, best music, all with the people of Nashville. Sponsors like Amazon, Vanderbilt University, Bishop Joseph Johnson, and the Black Cultural Center were all key to helping crown the night with a display of Fireworks, ending the celebrations for Juneteenth.

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