Juneteenth parade 2022. Photo provided by COJP

The event takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 17

By Cody Hefner

Cincinnati Museum Center     

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is hosting an exclusive modern-day celebration filled with the boisterous jazz notes of the roaring 20s, spoken word performances, food and drink.

SPEAKFREELY, sponsored by the Western & Southern Financial Group, is a celebration of freedom in the theme of a modern-day speakeasy, where the speakeasy’s underground nature brought people from all classes and statuses together in covert revelry.

SPEAKFREELY will feature original and classic jazz, R&B and blues performances from Destiny L and Chasing Dreams and spoken word performances from local artists and the DJ stylings of Guy Wes.

The history of Juneteenth celebrations

In 1866, newly freed Black Texans held parades, picnics and barbecues and gave speeches in celebration of their liberation on Juneteenth just a year earlier.

By 1900, Juneteenth had unofficially become Texas Emancipation Day, and the festivities had grown to include baseball games, horse races, street fairs, rodeos, railroad excursions and formal balls. Black churches and civic organizations sponsored the events and prominent politicians addressed the largest gatherings of over 5,000 people.

Juneteenth had become and surpassed the Fourth of July as the biggest holiday of the year for Black Texans. In the more than 150 years since the first Juneteenth celebration, it has spread across the country with flag-raisings, festivals and parades and is recognized as a national holiday – a second day to celebrate independence for some but a true Independence Day for so many.

WHEN: Saturday, June 17

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


$10 Freedom Center Members

$20 General Admission

Tickets available at freedomcenter.org.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *