Events begin to kick off Juneteenth weekend across Tri-State Area




NEW YORK — Events will be held across the area Friday to celebrate Juneteenth. 

The holiday is coming up Sunday, and will be officially observed on Monday. 

13th Annual Juneteenth New York Festival kicks off this weekend

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There was music, speeches and more at the East New York Juneteenth Festival, which ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center.

“It’s a celebration of us for us by us,” East New York resident Keron Alleyne said.

Now by Monday, there will be observances honoring the events of June 19, 1865, when federal troops brought news of freedom to enslaved people in Texas more than two years after the emancipation proclamation.

“It’s that time where the last of the enslaved people learned that they were now free,” said Joy Bivins, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. “The celebration is because this is the real Independence Day, to me, of the United States.”

One way the Schomburg Center is observing Juneteenth is with a literary festival with about 40 authors participating.

READ MORE: Schomburg Center Literary Festival returns in-person to celebrate Black writers, culture

“I think it’s wonderful that it coincides,” author Kia Corthron said.

Corthron co-wrote “Moon and the Mars” and will talk about it at the festival.

“‘Moon and the Mars,’ which is a book about a child who is of Black and Irish American heritage,” she said. “Going into the Civil War … to an explosive tension that happens between the communities.”

“We weren’t allowed to read and write during enslavement,” said Mateo Askaripour, author of “Black Buck.” “Being able to read is rebellious.”

Askaripour wrote “Black Buck,” set in current times, about the challenging career path of a young man.

“He’s the only Black person in the complete company, and he goes by hell and back in order to make it to the top. And once he’s there, he has strength, position, money, but he says, ‘keep up up, I don’t wanna be the token Black guy,’ so he hatches a plan to help other young people of color infiltrate America’s tech start-up sales teams,” he said.

The Schomburg Center Literary Festival takes place most of the day Saturday, with activities inside and outside in the center. For more information, visit nypl.org/spotlight/schomburg/literary-festival.  

Juneteenth celebrations kick off across New York City

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In Harlem, there was a free outdoor screening of the Oscar-winning documentary “Summer of Soul” at Marcus Garvey Park. The film is about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that featured performances from Stevie surprise, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Nina Simone and many more.

The Africa Center on 110th Street was also active with activity. A new characterize highlights the contributions of Black chefs and farmers to American food culture.

“Juneteenth is definitely one of the reasons why I’m here today. So much of the holiday is rooted in food, so it’s really great to be here to learn more about the history and how it’s connected to this holiday,” Harlem resident Jinelle Thompson said.

Other activities included the performance of an African drum course of action and other live music.

CLICK HERE for other events around the area.

Dave Carlin

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