Third Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Brings History and Heritage to Columbus

Third Annual Juneteenth Jubilee Brings History and Heritage to Columbus

By Kirsten J. Barnes

Columbus officials want residents to learn the history and culture related to the newest national holiday during the Third Annual Juneteenth Jubilee which is being held throughout the month of June at the Columbus Civic Center and other locations.

Not only will Columbus Consolidated Government be closed on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, but the city, along with Aflac and other area businesses and organizations, will sponsor a full slate of events.

The brainchild of Columbus Councilor Toyia Tucker (District 4), the month-long event began with a press conference on June 6 and was billed as a celebration of African American heritage and culture.

“Juneteenth doesn’t belong to any one of us individually; it belongs to all of us, and all of us have ideas of what Juneteenth looks like,” said Tucker, who was reelected in May. “So, I’m thankful for the committee. I’m thankful for Mayor Skip Henderson and the Council, and most importantly, I am thankful for (co-chairs) Kanise Wiggins and Oz Roberts, who really stood in the gap and really got this ball rolling for this year.”

Tucker said she was introduced to Juneteenth in 1997, while stationed at Langley Air Force Base. So, almost immediately after taking office, she approached Mayor Skip Henderson about creating a city-wide experience in Columbus.

President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday in 2021. It is commemorated each year on June 19, as it has been since June 19, 1865.

“The Emancipation Proclamation stated that if the Civil War were won by the Union soldiers slavery would no longer be allowed in the United States of America,” said Deputy City Manager for Current Operations and Interim Director of the Columbus Civic Center Lisa Goodwyn. “On June 19, 1865, nearly nine decades after our nation’s founding and more than two years after President (Abraham) Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Americans at Ashton Villa in Galveston, Texas, finally received word that they were free from bondage.”

It is said that General Order No. 3, otherwise known as the Emancipation Proclamation, was read to the slaves from the balcony at the villa, built in 1859. Today, it has been fully restored and has hosted Juneteenth celebrations since the 1070s. 

Mayor Skip Henderson said he is proud to see the entire community come together to celebrate the diversity that comprises the tri-city area. 

“We are so far ahead of other communities,” Henderson said. “It’s a celebration that leads to education. I would just urge every single individual to attend.”

Some of the events include the following: 

  • June 15: Clothes Story: Threads of Change – A Digital Fashion Storytelling Experience at the Springer Opera House. The Exhibit, located in the Grand Lobby, can be seen daily beginning at 6:30 p.m. until June 19th.  For more information visit: https://www.springeroperahouse.org/springerproductions/clothes-story.
  • June 14th – 16th: Men of Motown, on Friday and Saturday the show starts at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday the show starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Springer Opera House, located at 103 10th St, Columbus, GA 31901. Tickets are $19 to $35 and can be purchased at: https://ci.ovationtix.com/35714/production/1158209
  • June 18th: Historic Bike Rides begin at 6 p.m. from Woodruff Park, 1000 Bay Ave, Columbus, Ga. 31901. 
  • June 18th: Night Parade Block Party starts at 8 p.m. at Woodruff Park, 1000 Bay Ave, Columbus, Ga. 31901 
  • June 19: Juneteenth Commemorative Service will be held from 11 a.m. until noon at Pierce Chapel Methodist Church, 5122 Pierce Chapel Road, Midland, Ga. 31820.
  • June 21st: A Historical Photo Session – “Freedom’s Legacy: Honoring Juneteenth at Pierce Chapel African Cemetery,” will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the church cemetery, 5122 Pierce Chapel Road, Midland, Ga. 31820 
  •  June 21st: Juneteenth Western Dinner Dance from 8 p.m. - midnight at Bibb Mill Center, located at 3715 1st Ave, Columbus, Ga. 31904. This event is sponsored by SISTERS, Inc. in conjunction with Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. Gamma Tau Omega Chapter. Tickets are $70.
  • June 22nd: Juneteenth Jubilee will be held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St., Columbus, Ga. 31901. This free event will include food trucks, live music, retail vendors, and community resources. 

For more information visit: https://www.columbusga.gov/juneteenth/about

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