10 ways to observe Juneteenth in Charlotte

10 ways to observe Juneteenth in Charlotte

Raymond Abercrombie/ E+/Getty Images.

By Ryan Pitkin

June 18, 2024

Juneteenth in Charlotte: From art shows to a durag festival, here are some ways to observe a holiday about liberation and resilience.

While Juneteenth may be the newest officially recognized national holiday in the United States, having been recognized as such in 2021, it has deep and solemn roots in American history. 

The day commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement that slavery would be abolished in Texas, the final remaining territory where the Emancipation Proclamation had yet to take effect. Having recognized Juneteenth in 2007, the 27th state to do so, North Carolina joins in celebrating this now-national holiday to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederacy.

People observe Juneteenth in all sorts of different ways, with some throughlines among most celebrations including themes around liberation, freedom, resilience, and community. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways you can mark the holiday if you’re in the Queen City for mid-June.

In the meantime, check out this Juneteenth Toolkit, put together by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission.  

House of Africa’s Annual Juneteenth Festival

June 13-16, times vary; House of Africa, 1215 Thomas Ave.

Launched in 1998, House of Africa owner Pape Ndiaye hosts the longest-running Juneteenth celebration in all of North Carolina. Attendees can expect a drum circle, youth culture camp, a unity march, and more, with vendors onsite selling food, beverages, arts and crafts, and other goods. “The major intent of the festival is to examine the cultural heritage of enslaved Africans and their descendants through art, education, and research,” writes Ndiaye on the festival website. “Our goal is not to recreate the past but to venerate our ancestors and in their honor cultivate the true spirit of freedom.”

Queen City Juneteenth Parade and Cultural Celebration

June 15, 9 a.m.-noon; CPCC-Cato Campus, 8120 Grier Road

Enjoy vibrant floats, music, vendors, and dance performances that honor African American heritage and freedom, with a focus on Black excellence. “When I think of Black excellence, I think of all the ways Black people have contributed to our society through our innovation, through our culture, making our world a better place,” said the event’s organizers in a YouTube video promoting the annual get-together. “If we look around and come together we can inspire each other towards greatness.” 

2024 North Carolina Juneteenth Festival

June 15, 1-5 p.m.; Cabarrus Arena & Events Center, 4751 State Highway 49 N., Concord

Support over 100 Black-owned companies and enjoy crafts, culture, performances, art, kids games, free giveaways, and more. For the kiddos, you can expect a bounce house, playground,

face painting, basketball, and baby bumper cars. For everyone’s entertainment, look for performances by Ms. Brii Teachings Dance Company, BeYou Clubhouse/904 Vybez, ProForce Entertainment, and a keynote speech from Dr. Latoya Fulton. 

Pre-Juneteenth Y2K-Themed Pop-Up Market

June 15; 1-4 p.m.; Level II Venue, 102 Berkeley Place Drive

Celebrate the Juneteenth holiday while embracing the nostalgia of African American culture with music, food, and shopping for vintage pieces from local Charlotte vendors. Dress up in your favorite Y2K-era ‘fit to support Black business owners and build community. 

Ada Jenkins Juneteenth Celebration

June 15, 4-7 p.m.; Ada Jenkins Center, 212 Gamble St., Davidson

First opened as a school for young Black children in Davidson in the late 1930s, the Ada Jenkins Center is built on a foundation of Black history. The fourth annual Ada Jenkins Juneteenth celebration will include music, dancing, spoken-word performances, nonprofit vendors, food trucks, a kids’ zone, and a free meal for the first 400 people in attendance.

Liberation & Inspiration: A Celebratory Juneteenth Concert

June 15, 7 p.m.; Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St.

Hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist and songwriter Kirk Franklin, this concert features a myriad of jubilant performances by Charlotte artists including the SAINTED Trap Choir and Fantasia, offering a musical journey from a historic tragedy to triumphant eras of freedom, excellence, and joy.

Charlotte Symphony: A Juneteenth Celebration

June 16, 8:15 p.m.; Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road

The Charlotte Symphony honors African American musical heritage and unites in the spirit of freedom with works by Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, and more. There will be food trucks and other vendors as well as an opening performance from the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra. Performances will include Duke Ellington’s “Emancipation Celebration” and Louis Armstrong’s “Satchmo!” Then they’ll bring it all home with a medley of Stevie Wonder hits. 

University City Juneteenth Art Fest 2024

June 19, 4-8 pm; The Shoppes at University Place, 8931 JM Keynes Drive

Celebrate creativity, culture, and community at the Shoppes at University Place, with artists showcasing their work, live music performances, dancers, games and giveaways, vendors, and free interactive painting activities for all ages. Performances will range from healing music (Ayah the Light) and R&B (DEVN) to spoken-word (Bluz and Jay Ward) and hip-hop (DDA Tink). 

Durag Fest

June 21-22, times vary; BlkMrktCLT, Camp North End, 301 Camp Road

Known as “the Met Gala of Durags,” local artist Jimi Thompson, aka Dammit Wesley, launched Durag Fest in 2018 as a fresh way to celebrate Black excellence in all its forms in observance of Juneteenth. This year’s expo will include the usual grandiose looks, with folks coming from up and down the East Coast to show off their custom-made durags and other looks, with some educational programming and entertainment worked in, including workshops like DEI: Beyond

Buzzwords and Masters of Making: Unlocking Purpose Through Community & Creating. 

Historic Rosedale Juneteenth Celebration

June 22, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Historic Rosedale, 3427 N. Tryon St.

With its African American Legacy programming, the management at the 1815 house at Historic Rosedale has pledged to honor those who once forcibly labored on the property. This Juneteenth celebration is part of that pledge, with demonstrations, prayer, a panel discussion, a musical performance by Kimberly Baker, and more. Demos include jump ropes, doll making, and quilt making for children. The house will also have its African American stamp collection on display.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.10 ways to observe Juneteenth in Charlotte10 ways to observe Juneteenth in Charlotte

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Author

  • Ryan Pitkin

    Ryan Pitkin is a writer and editor based in Charlotte, where he runs an alternative weekly newspaper called Queen City Nerve. He is also editor of NoDa News, a community newsletter in the neighborhood where he has lived for 15 years.

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