“Celebration of Our Black History in Oberlin” will be the theme of this year’s Juneteenth Festival, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 on Tappan Square.
The event will feature games, a parade, food, vendors, bike raffles, and more.
Musical entertainment will be provided by FunkYardX, Utah Witherspoon, Marcel Jones, local church choirs, and others.
This Juneteenth marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. It will celebrate the voices of the community, the freedom of black people, and what they have accomplished in Oberlin.
Organizers plan to shine lights on black community members, black civic engagement, black businesses, and black churches.
There will also be an open mic so that family members and loved ones from the African-American community can help everyone remember and celebrate the histories of people and events from the Oberlin community and beyond.
Before the festival, the Potter’s Field memorial service will celebrate the 154th anniversary of Westwood Cemetery. A program will be held there at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 starting with a brief ceremony organized and coordinated by Margaret Christian.
This year, the event will commemorate the Rev. John Ramsey with the placement of a headstone adorned with flowers in Potter’s field. Civil rights activist and Oberlin College professor James Lawson is remembered each year with the placing of flowers on the bench that exists in his name at the edge of Potter’s Field.
The Oberlin Community Services Juneteenth picnic will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, June 15 on Tappan Square.
Maafa, also known as the Holocaust of Enslavement, is a national celebration commemorating the pain, suffering, and loss of life of Africans in the Diaspora. The commemoration will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 15 at Westwood Cemetery.
June 19, 1865, is considered the date when the last enslaved people in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come in Texas until June 19, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.
Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom. While its roots are in Texas, the festival has become a way to celebrate freedom all over the United States.
Organizers thank the following for their support: the city of Oberlin, Oberlin College, the Oberlin Rotary, Oberlin Public Library, and the Oberlin Business Partnership.