Juneteenth (officially Juneteenth National Independence Day and also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture.

Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. The day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. 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 freedom for enslaved people in Texas, which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.

City of Southfield celebrates Juneteenth with week of activities and events June 15-22

The City of Southfield, in partnership with Pearls of Service Foundation (PSF) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA), Inc.® - Pi Tau Omega Chapter, Southfield Public Library, Southfield Parks & Recreation and Southfield Historical Society, will sponsor several events and activities for the City’s Juneteenth Celebration. This celebration of African American history and culture will kick off with a ceremonial raising of the Juneteenth flag on Wednesday, June 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the circle drive in front of City Hall, 26000 Evergreen Road.

Southfield Public Library & Friends of the Library Juneteenth Programs – June 15-17

The Friends of the Southfield Public Library will sponsor a special Juneteenth Jazz and Blues concert at the Southfield Public Library on Wednesday, June 15 from 6-8:30 p.m. This free outdoor concert will feature African American artist DeAnna Victoria performing various genres of African American music including traditional songs such as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in honor of Juneteenth. The Library BookShelf will be open offering gently used books for sale as well as various vendors featuring local African American owned businesses.

On Thursday, June 16 from 5:30-6:15 p.m., the Southfield Public Library will host A Timeline in Dance featuring Body Rhythm Dance Theatre Youth Troupe. The group will present several dances that go through the years showing how dance is a relevant part of black history. The Library will also feature special Juneteenth book displays throughout the building in addition to hosting author and educator Jean Alicia Elster on Friday, June 17 from 2-3 p.m. with How It Happens: Collecting Oral Histories where she will share the importance of oral histories in the creation of her family-based historical fiction trilogy. Ms. Elster will describe the basics of obtaining compelling oral histories and lead participants in a hands-on exercise. Books will also be available for sale and signing. Look for more information at www.southfieldlibrary.org.

Mayor’s Juneteenth Walk – Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m.

Join Mayor Dr. Ken Siver the Southfield 2022 Juneteenth Celebration week will be the Mayor’s Juneteenth Walk on Saturday, June 18 at 10:00 a.m. beginning at the Southfield Municipal Campus front circle. Join Mayor Dr. Ken Siver for a invigorating 2.5 mile walk to the Red Pole Park and back to City Hall.

Southfield Parks & Recreation Juneteenth Celebration – Saturday, June 18 from 12-9 p.m.

On Saturday, June 18, Southfield Parks & Recreation will sponsor a special Juneteenth celebration beginning at noon on the Municipal Campus front lawn. P&R and the Southfield Public Library will also host a Children’s Story Time with Librarian Miss Shari at 12:30 p.m. followed by a special appearance from Black Cowboy L.C. Caldwell at 1 p.m. and the Tuskegee Airmen at 2:30 p.m. The Southfield Historical Society will present videos of community stakeholders reading quotations from Sojourner Truth to Barack Obama. Juneteenth reenactors and presenters (including Harriet Tubman, Marian Anderson, Sojourner Truth and Malcolm X) will take place from 3-4:30 p.m. followed by a drumming workshop with Mahindi Masai from 4:30-6 p.m. Dancers from Legacy Dance Studio will grace the stage at 6 p.m. followed by award winning ensemble Larry Lee & Back in the Day from 7-9 p.m. Oakland County P&R will be on site from 1-6 p.m. with bounce houses with water features, a rock wall and large games in addition to food available for purchase from a variety of food trucks. Southfield P&R will also offer a flag bead bracelet making craft and other fun activities for youth. Pearls of Service Foundation will host a family gameboard section reminiscent of family cookouts.

Pearls of Service Foundation / Alpha Kappa Alpha Juneteenth Family Day Virtual Program – June 19

PSF and PTO will hold a Juneteenth Webinar celebrating Juneteenth and its incorporation into our society on Sunday, June 19 (times and web links TBD). Look for more information soon at www.pearlsofservicefoundation.org or www.akasouthfield.org.

Centrepolis Accelerator Micro Makers Evolution Lab Pitch Event – June 22

Centrepolis Accelerator is excited to host the Micro Makers Evolution Lab Pitch Event on June 22. This hybrid event will feature startups & entrepreneurs creating innovative physical products and/or hardware in Michigan, specifically the City of Southfield & Wayne County. These unique startups will have the chance to compete for $35,000 in prizes! Register here: https://conta.cc/3OYrB2c

The event will highlight startups and entrepreneurs creating innovative physical products and hardware in Michigan, specifically the City of Southfield & Wayne County. This event will also feature a dynamic set of speakers including Ken Silver, Mayor, City of Southfield, and Wafa Dinaro, Executive Director, New Economy Initiative, as well as a fireside chat with Centrepolis client Nezar Akeel, Founder & CEO, MaxPro Fitness, as featured on ABC’s hit series Shark Tank. Register here: https://conta.cc/3OYrB2c.

Curtis Lewis "Justice 4 All” exhibition on display at Southfield Public Library through June

Local artist Curtis Lewis’ new mural titled "Breathless" will be on display at the Southfield Public Library throughout the month of June.  The mural highlights George Floyd in addition to 75 other fatal victims of violence as well as 36 civil rights pioneers and leaders. The mural is 4’x5’ oil and acrylic on canvas and has been two years in the making. The work is part of a three-piece collection titled "Justice 4 All" that is also on display at the Library. The other artworks include a 2’x3’painting of Anne Frank titled "Heartbeat in the Attic" that celebrates Jewish American Heritage Month as well as a 2’x3’painting of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky titled “Let My People Go."

John Osler original oil painting exhibition on display in city hall main lobby until July

Mayor Ken Siver and the Southfield Public Arts Commission partnered with local artist John Osler to present an exhibition of his work in the city hall main lobby through July of 2022. The exhibition kicked off with a special artist reception to celebrate Black History Month on February 25. The exhibition, featuring 27 original John Osler oil paintings celebrating African Americans, will be on display Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. All of the original artwork is also offered for sale to the public.

For more information on the 2022 Southfield Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration, contact the Mayor’s Office at (248) 796-5100.