The Black Union of Kent County and the Town of Chestertown will host the annual Juneteenth Celebration, June 14-19.
On June 19, 1865, a group of formerly enslaved people celebrated the announcement of the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas. Over time, this celebration has spread across the United States, and last year the Black Union of Kent County hosted Chestertown’s first ever Juneteenth celebration.
The program will kick off on Monday with four online trainings on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI). The JEDI trainings, led by members of the Washington College community, are free and open to the public.
On Friday, June 18, there will be a Block Party from 6 to 9 p.m. in Fountain Park. Activities will include live music from the Dell Foxx Band and food by Phat Daddy BBQ. The evening also features presentations by the Race Thing, a media company that focuses on race relations in Talbot County, and Minorities in Aquaculture, an organization committed to creating a more diverse aquaculture industry by educating minority women.
The Chesapeake Heartland Archive will have its African American Humanities Truck — a mobile digitization station, oral history studio, and exhibit space that will be available on Friday night and all day Saturday. Bring your materials, pictures, and memories to join the archive of the history of African American communities on the Shore.
Saturday’s activities kick off at 1 p.m. in Wilmer Park with DJ Zandon. From 1:00-2:30 p.m., at River Arts on High Street, the Dolcin Unisex Lounge will present on Black barbers and hairstyles. At 3 p.m. at the Chestertown Marina, organizer John Queen will unveil historic signage recognizing the contributions of the enslaved people who arrived on Chestertown’s shores.
Families can check out the activities just for kids from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at KidSPOT and from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Kent County Public Library.
On Saturday afternoon at Wilmer Park, the festival welcomes two keynote speakers. At 4:45 p.m., Savannah Shepherd, social justice activist and founder of the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition (DSJRC), will address the crowd. At 5:35 p.m., State Delegate Andrea Harrison will speak. Harrison introduced a bill this past legislative session designating June 19 for Juneteenth National Freedom Day as a state legal and employee holiday. The afternoon’s events will also include the naming of the first recipients of the John Queen Community Impact Award and the Juneteenth Community Advocate Award.
Saturday evening is the grand finale and closing celebration. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with the blues, jazz, and folk of singer Karen Sommerville and the 3DC Band, and ends at 8 p.m., with a closing candlelight ceremony celebrating history, culture and achievements.