Juneteeth: Celebrating black voices


By Laurie Hamame - lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com



Members of the African Royalty dance team perform traditional African dances to three songs.

Members of the African Royalty dance team perform traditional African dances to three songs.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

LaTonya Fenderson performs a spoken word poem about inequality.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

John Bremke smiles after getting a shark painted on his face.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Young singers from the Oberlin Christian and Missionary Alliance sing a song called “Jesus is My Superhero.”


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Members of the Oberlin Christian and Missionary Alliance warm up the crowd with a hymn.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Jacqueline Cochran and Nyarria Green listen and clap along to a musical performance.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Mackenzie Brooks seems pretty excited about her new glittery face paint.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Motorcyclists rev their engines as they travel along West College Street to begin the parade.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

The African Royalty Drill Team shook gold pom poms to get the bystanders on their feet.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

The Deputies Baton flag and drum corp was a big attraction of the parade.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Drummers keep the beat during a performance on West College Street.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Kids line up to get sugary treats from the candy man.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Jeff Chambers serves up a purple snow cone.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

For 26 years, Adenike Sharpley has served as chair of Oberlin’s Juneteenth Festival.

Saturday was her last.

Hundreds gathered on Tappan Square to play games, enter raffles, and listen to the histories of people from the Oberlin community and beyond. Sharpley said she wanted her final festival to celebrate the voices African-Americans and to honor what they have accomplished here in town.

“I hope people understand that Oberlin has a rich history with African-Americans, both free and those who came out of bondage. A lot of them were skilled laborers and bricklayers,” she said.

Sharpley has dedicated much of her life to preserving and sharing African and African-American history and culture through the arts and education, both on the Oberlin College campus and as a longtime business owner of the recently closed gift shop Ade’s Place.

She has recently retired to South Carolina. Sharpley said she feels good leaving the event in the hands of college students and residents.

Juneteenth marks the day that word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the last slave-holders, two years after it was made by President Abraham Lincoln.

The holiday, gaining traction nationwide, is sometimes called America’s “Second Independence Day.”

While white colonists celebrated their independence from Britain on July 4, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave, said in 1852 that the day did not resonate with black Americans: “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is constant victim.”

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

Members of the African Royalty dance team perform traditional African dances to three songs.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8935.jpgMembers of the African Royalty dance team perform traditional African dances to three songs.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

LaTonya Fenderson performs a spoken word poem about inequality.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8847.jpgLaTonya Fenderson performs a spoken word poem about inequality.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

John Bremke smiles after getting a shark painted on his face.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8849.jpgJohn Bremke smiles after getting a shark painted on his face.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Young singers from the Oberlin Christian and Missionary Alliance sing a song called “Jesus is My Superhero.”
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8865.jpgYoung singers from the Oberlin Christian and Missionary Alliance sing a song called “Jesus is My Superhero.”

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Members of the Oberlin Christian and Missionary Alliance warm up the crowd with a hymn.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8876.jpgMembers of the Oberlin Christian and Missionary Alliance warm up the crowd with a hymn.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Jacqueline Cochran and Nyarria Green listen and clap along to a musical performance.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8879.jpgJacqueline Cochran and Nyarria Green listen and clap along to a musical performance.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Mackenzie Brooks seems pretty excited about her new glittery face paint.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8882.jpgMackenzie Brooks seems pretty excited about her new glittery face paint.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Motorcyclists rev their engines as they travel along West College Street to begin the parade.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8886.jpgMotorcyclists rev their engines as they travel along West College Street to begin the parade.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

The African Royalty Drill Team shook gold pom poms to get the bystanders on their feet.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8902.jpgThe African Royalty Drill Team shook gold pom poms to get the bystanders on their feet.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

The Deputies Baton flag and drum corp was a big attraction of the parade.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8912.jpgThe Deputies Baton flag and drum corp was a big attraction of the parade.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Drummers keep the beat during a performance on West College Street.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8916.jpgDrummers keep the beat during a performance on West College Street.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Kids line up to get sugary treats from the candy man.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8923.jpgKids line up to get sugary treats from the candy man.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

Jeff Chambers serves up a purple snow cone.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/06/web1_IMG_8925.jpgJeff Chambers serves up a purple snow cone.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

By Laurie Hamame

lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com