Louisville announces 2023 Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration events

FILE: Juneteenth celebrations started at the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville.
FILE: Juneteenth celebrations started at the KFC Yum! Center in downtown Louisville.(Source: WAVE 3 News)
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:03 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The city is hosting more than a week of events this June to highlight the historical significance of Juneteenth.

The Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration will take place from June 10 through June 19 at various locations across the city, with many free and open to the public, according to a release.

Juneteenth is observed every year on June 19, commemorating when soldiers gave notice to residents in Galveston, Texas to free the last enslaved Black Americans in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

It was first recognized as a federal holiday starting in 2021.

“Juneteenth reminds all of us to learn, reflect and continue building a more equitable future for our city,” Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg said in a release. “I want to thank our Juneteenth Jubilee Commission, the Office of Equity, Louisville Metro Council and our community partners for their tireless work in educating our city and commemorating this pivotal moment in America’s history.”

This year’s celebration will feature several new events, including “Amplify Songs of Justice” on June 10, a performance of civil rights songs by composer Jorell Williams and lyrics by Juneteenth Jubilee Commissioner and Councilwoman Paula McCraney, as well as Lean into Louisville’s luncheon on June 14 featuring guest speaker Jermaine Fowler, author of “The Humanity Archive: Recovering the Soul of Black History from a Whitewashed American Myth.”

A list of events scheduled so far can be found below:

  • June 10, 7 p.m. : Kentucky Opera’s “Amplify Songs of Justice”: Kentucky Opera commissioned civil rights songs from composer Jorell Williams, with lyrics by Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration Commissioner Paula McCraney. Free admission but tickets required.
  • June 11, 5 p.m. : Jazz Excursion on the Belle of Louisville: Featuring jazz saxophonist Dee Lucas. Boarding begins at 4:30 p.m. in partnership with Bread Entertainment. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.com.
  • June 12, 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. : Simmons College of Kentucky Golf Classic: The eighth annual Simmons College of Kentucky Golf Classic will be held at the Lake Forest Country Club, 14000 Landmark Drive. A breakfast buffet and boxed lunch for the 7:30 a.m. shotgun and a boxed lunch and dinner buffet for the 12:30 p.m. shotgun will be served. Click or tap here for more information.
  • June 12-16: Arts Camp at the Waterfront: Louisville Visual Art and Waterfront Park are hosting a day camp for youth ages 7-12. Campers will be introduced to the works and history of Ed Hamilton, Muhammad Ali, the Underground Railroad and more, then create their own artworks to express themselves and their newfound knowledge; in the afternoons, campers will explore Waterfront Park for fun camp activities. This scholarship-based, cost-free camp is available to children from the Zones of Hope. For more information, visit louisvillevisualart.org/outreach-camps.
  • June 13, 6:35 p.m. : Juneteenth at Louisville Bats: The baseball game will highlight the history of the Negro League and youth at Louisville Slugger Field.
  • June 14, 11:30 a.m. : Lean Into Louisville Luncheon at The Palm Room Office of Equity Director Joi McAtee will host the luncheon featuring remarks by Mayor Craig Greenberg and guest speaker Jermaine Fowler, author of New York Times bestseller “The Humanity Archive: Recovering the Soul of Black History from a Whitewashed American Myth.” Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.com.
  • June 16: AGAPE Day: Local Divine 9 Black Greek fraternities and sororities will partner with Dare to Care to deliver food to communities. “AGAPE” refers to “the highest form of love, charity.”
  • June 16, 6 p.m. : Juneteenth Gala at the Ali Center: The Juneteenth Gala is sponsored by Norton Healthcare, Fifth Third Bank, Republic Bank and the Office of Equity. It will recognize and award historians and future and present leaders for the tremendous work they have done to improve racial equity within the community. The gala will also focus on Juneteenth culinary dishes and its history. Musical entertainment by Jerry Tolson Orchestra and Frankie Raymore and the Groovemasterz. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.com.
  • June 17: Youth Sports Jamboree at Newburg Park: Reviving Urban Neighborhoods (R.U.N.), Inc. will host a fun-filled family event where youth can win prizes by demonstrating their knowledge of Juneteenth facts.
  • June 17, 7 p.m. : “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story” at KCAAH: “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story” is a one-woman play about voting rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, through song and storytelling. Tickets are $25 (VIP tickets are $30) and can be purchased at Eventbrite.com.
  • June 18, 2 p.m. : Father’s Day & Juneteenth Jazz Brunch at KCAAH: The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage will host Ansyn Banks Legacy Quintet with guest vocalist Karen Chavis and host Marjorie Marshall. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.com or kcaah.org. Limited VIP seating is $45.
  • June 19, 6 p.m. : “Let’s Talk | Bridging the Divide: Load in Nine Times: United States Colored Troops, An Evening with former Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker” at the Frazier History Museum: Danville native and poet Frank X Walker will debut a collection of poems centered on African Americans in Kentucky during the Civil War. Eighteen of those works will be unveiled as part of the museum’s Commonwealth exhibition. The event is free, but registration is required.

For more information on the Louisville’s Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration, click or tap here.