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From Block Parties To Bike Rides, Here's How North Texans Can Celebrate Juneteenth

A woman stands in the street, her back to the camera as a green, black and red flag billows behind her.
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There are a number of Juneteenth celebrations planned in North Texas this week.

Juneteenth is a holiday in Texas that celebrates the day slavery ended in the Lone Star State on June 19, 1865.

The day marks the arrival of Union soldiers in Galveston more than 155 years ago with the news that some of the last enslaved Americans were now free in the aftermath of the Civil War.

This arrival was two-and-a-half-years after President Abraham Lincoln had actually signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring enslaved people free. But emancipation was a process, and freeing enslaved people took longer in some places, particularly Confederate states.

That's why technically, the end of slavery in Texas came much later.

More than a century later, Juneteenth seems to be on the way to becoming a national holiday with trailblazers like 94-year-old Opal Lee from Fort Worth. For the last decade, Lee has been making several symbolic walks on the road to Washington, D.C., to bring attention to her cause and spread the word any way she can.

In North Texas this year, there’s a great deal of events and celebrations to commemorate Juneteenth and celebrate. Here’s a rundown:

City of Fort Worth Juneteenth Celebration — June 17, 7 p.m.

Location: Fort Worth Botanic Garden Center Lecture Hall, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. Fort Worth

The City of Fort Wort will host an in-person screening of the 51-minute film "The Green Book: Guide to Freedom", which chronicles how a Black postal carrier from Harlem named Victor Green published a book that was part travel guide and part survival guide in the 1930s.

It was called The Negro Motorist Green Book, and it helped African Americans navigate safe passage across the U.S. well into the 1960s.

After the screening, there will be a discussion with city leaders.

Admission is free, but registration is required.

Juneteenth Community/Freedom Bike Ride — June 18, 6 p.m.

Location: Pan-African Connection Bookstore, 4466 S Marsalis Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75216

The South Oak Cliff Black bookstore is encouraging Dallas residents to grab their helmets and join them for a ride at their 2nd Annual Juneteenth Community Bike Ride for Freedom and Justice. The trek will be "five miles of healthy family fun, for our ancestors."

People will meet up at and depart from the Pan-African Connection Bookstore. For more details, residents can call (214) 943-8262.

Lake Como Community Juneteenth Celebration — June 19, 9:15 a.m.

Location: Zion Missionary Baptist Church parking lot, 4100 Horne St., Fort Worth

Stroll down memory lane and learn about the history of Juneteenth during storytime at Lake Como's Juneteenth celebration. There will be a car wash and a block full of vendors selling refreshments and food.

Opal's Walk 2021 - June 19

Fort Worth resident Opal Lee has a mission: Make Juneteenth a national holiday. She's been nicknamed 'Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ for pushing for this proclamation for over a decade.

On June 19, Lee will embark on her annual 2.5 mile walk to recognize the years it took for the news of freedom to reach all enslaved people in the U.S.

While Lee will walk and celebrate alongside her community in Fort Worth, Texas, she's inviting people across the country to join her.

Registration is $20 for adults and $10 for kids to participate virtually or in person in Fort Worth. You can register here.

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Christopher Connelly/KERA News
In 2016, Opal Lee is photographer on her walk to the nation's capital. Behind her is Willie Johnson, principal of E.B. Comstock Middle School in Dallas, who joined her for a leg of the walk.

Juneteenth Celebration, March & Festival 2021 — June 19, 10 a.m.

Location: Fair Park, South Dallas, Dallas, TX

The city of Dallas will host its first-ever Juneteenth march, which will begin at 10 a.m. at William Blair Jr. Park and end at Fair Park.

Once the three-mile march ends, the festival will kick off at 11 a.m. On the festival grounds, attendees can enjoy entertainment and goodies from more than 200 local vendors.

"Our goal is to celebrate the freedom and emancipation by showcasing civic and community organizations, and elected officials," the event website says.

The organizers, Elite News and the Blair Foundation, hope this celebration will raise awareness not only of Juneteenth but of the inequities Black Americans face in the U.S.

Admission is free, but registration is required.

Juneteenth In Joppa Celebration - June 19, 11 a.m.

Location: South Central Park, 4753 Fellows Ln, Dallas

The southern Dallas community of Joppa is back with their annual celebration of Juneteenth. The holiday carries a special meaning in Joppa. The neighborhood of barely 300 homes is a freedman’s town founded in 1872 by an emancipated slave named Henry Critz Hines.

"As always," residents say, "Juneteenth offers a time to reflect, fellowship and celebrate."

This year, much like last year, the community is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines while celebrating at the Joppa park.

"We will continue in documenting oral history, so if you want your family's history documented come," the event flyer says.

2021 Juneteenth FTW Festival & Concert - June 19, 1 p.m.

Location: Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey St. Fort Worth

Live DJs, tasty food and a music festival with national and local artists will celebrate the accomplishments and historical significance of June 19, 1865. R&B, jazz and hip-hop tunes will flood the Fort Worth Pavilion for annual Juneteenth festivities. There will be a kid's zone with bounce houses and face painting and the celebration will end with a fireworks show at 9 p.m.

Children get free admission, pre-sale adult tickets are $20, and day-of-purchases are $45.

Juneteenth Jubilee Block Party - June 19, 5 p.m.

Location: The Arlington Museum of Art, 201 W. Main St.

Poetry readings, a free summer concert series and block party are being hosted by the Arlington Museum of Art and Create Arlington. The Juneteenth Block Party will be open to the public and museum admission fees will be waived. Attendees will get a chance to browse through the Arlington Museum of Art's 30 exhibitions by African American artists.

After the block party, the festivities will continue at the Levitt Pavilion with special performances by Afro-beat musician Key LeBlanc at 7 p.m. and American Idol finalist Ron Bultongez at 8 p.m.

The city of Arlington's Mayor Jeff Williams and council member Barbara Odom-Wesley will be in attendance.

Free parking will be available throughout downtown.

Juneteenth Unityfest - June 19, 5 p.m.

Location: Online live stream

If you want to celebrate the holiday from the comfort of your home, this national online event might be the right fit. It will feature musical performances, films, comedy, storytelling and appearances by civic leaders and influencers like actress Phylicia Rashad and actor Billy Porter.

This is a multi-city event taking place in New York, New Orleans, Nashville and Los Angeles. It will celebrate the breadth and depth of Black culture and Juneteenth. It will include musical performances by Robert Randolph, Aloe Blacc, Bebe Winans, Black Pumas, Darius Rucker and Earth, Wind & Fire — just to name a few.

Here is the lineup.

This post will continue to be updated with more events. If you know of one we might have missed let us know!

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member and writes about the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities for KERA News. Email Alejandra at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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