Events planned throughout the week for Juneteenth celebration

Members of Tryon Palace's Jonkonnu Troupe perform during last year's first Juneteenth celebration held in New Bern.

New Bern’s Juneteenth celebration is currently underway. Events are planned throughout the week, spearheaded by the Juneteenth Committee, #ProjectRestore and the Duffyfield Greater Resident’s Council.

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 every year and commemorates the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in the state of Texas after the Civil War. It has been celebrated in the United States since 1865. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making June 19 a national holiday. It was the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was enacted in 1983.

In 2021, New Bern held its largest ever Juneteenth celebration. This year, the celebration continues with various events and activities planned within the city. Some have already taken place. 

Craven Arts Council presented its annual Juneteenth exhibition on Friday, June 10 featuring work by local African American artists including Toni Graves, Jacinda Aytch, Kevin Cruz, and Diamond Campbell.

New Bern Civic Theatre production of Sankofa explores the history and current state of race relations in the United States through music, dance, spoken word, and dramatic skits, in an event that runs through Sunday. 

Other events included the podcast “A Conversation Between Brothers,” a social media history lesson and Q&A, and a Juneteenth Sunday Service at various churches in the community. 

More:Jones County to hold inaugural Juneteenth celebration at civic center

Here is a list of additional events planned for the celebration.

Podcast

The Official Juneteenth Kickoff Podcast with Wendy Card will feature guest William J. Barber III of the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign and son of pastor, author and social activist Rev. William J. Barber II. The event will be 7 p.m. Monday via YouTube. This event is hosted by the Juneteenth Committee and New Bern Now.

Health Day 

This free Zumba event with K-Zone Fitness and Kayla Ingram will be held at Fort Totten Park, 1402 Trent Blvd at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Youth event

Co-hosted by Juneteenth committee members Jameesha Harris and Isaiah Daniels and in collaboration with Chick-Fil-A of New Bern, this HBCU/Divine 9 Youth Event will host colleges and collegiate organizations that will have an abundance of information to give participants.  The event will be held at The Village, 1046 Broad St. 

Lecture series 

A free program will be presented by Sauuda Eshe through songs, recitation, and historical data demonstrating why Juneteenth should be celebrated. “The Journey to Juneteenth” will be held at 7 p.m. on June 16 at the Cullman Performance Hall, inside the North Carolina History Center, New Bern.

Rooftop celebration

The 4th Annual Premier Juneteenth Rooftop Celebration will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at the offices of Oliver & Cheek, 405 Middle St. in downtown New Bern. Come out and network with the Young Urban Professionals of ENC. Music will be by DJKAOSS, and The Flame Food Truck will be on site. The dress code theme is African textiles. Networking begins at 7 p.m. followed by music and food at 8 p.m. There will be prizes and games. Tickets range from $30-$150 and includes one drink and one food ticket with VIP tables also available. To purchase a ticket, visit eventbrite.com.

Parade, Duffest and festival

New Bern's held its largest-ever Juneteenth celebration in 2021. Early activities included dedication of the African American Heritage Trail, a parade along Broad Street and a day-long festival.

Along with Juneteenth activities will be New Bern’s Annual Duffest that will take place in Henderson Park beginning at 11 a.m. 

The parade starts at 11 with the line-up starting at 10 a.m. Participants are asked to register in advance, but may also join during line-up. The route begins at Henderson Park and will proceed down Third Avenue turning left onto Broad Street to Roundtree Street ending at the Big Field located in Craven Terrace Apartments.   

Following the parade, a festival will take place from noon to 4 p.m. throughout the parade route with vendors, food, music, activities and more followed by fireworks beginning at dusk. 

Street closures include Broad Street from Roundtree to Miller Street, as well as portions of Third Avenue and Chapman Street. 

Saturday’s events end with a Freedom Party hosted by Flo’s Extravaganza Bar and Lounge, 2704 Neuse Blvd. in New Bern.

More:Escape the rat race with a raft race along the Trent River

More:June events: Juneteenth, live music and raft race on list of things to do this month

Remembrance Ceremony on Sunday. 

Maafa refers to the centuries-long enslavement and murder of millions of Africans by white Europeans, North Americans, and others and the lasting impacts on African people and the descendants of those who were enslaved. Hosted by various community members, the event will be held at 5 p.m. at Union Point Park concluding the Juneteenth celebration. 

Talina Massey, one of the event’s coordinators, said they took critiques from last year’s event and made a few changes. 

“We planned the event to happen earlier in an effort to beat the heat,” she said. “We also will have volunteers who will be passing out water and ice as well as medical staff on-site taking blood pressure and doing other checks to ensure that everyone is doing okay throughout the event.” 

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The event last year ran approximately 11 hours. 

“This year we cut the hours down so people can enjoy all the events without suffering in the heat too long,” she said. “The event is planned to last about 6 hours.”

For more information, visit juneteenthofnewbern.com.

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