Four Atlanta venues will honor Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, in their own way.
Juneteenth originated June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved African Americans were pronounced free individuals after the arrival of U.S. troops in Galveston Bay, Texas, a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the Confederacy lost the Civil War.
Here’s a rundown of those four events:
7 Stages Theatre in Little Five Points will host the Human Lights Festival June 18 through 20 and June 24 through 27, when local, national and international artists will participate in both in-person and virtual programs.
The event will focus on the seven stages of empowerment: awakening, rage, rebellion, deconstruction, hope, reconstruction and change. The festival lineup will include:
♦ Experimental short films by Tye Alexandra, Brittany London, Diego Serra, Steven Hao, Jesse Rasmussen, Kāli Quinn, Leila Ghasempor, Autumn Davis and Ben Yoganathan.
♦ Virtual performances and interactive experiences by Anicka Austin, Danse Theatre Surreality, Last Call, Saviana Stanescu, Banana Effect, Corpus Acrobatics and Maja Mitic.
♦ COVID-safe immersive, live theatre and installations (indoor and outdoor) by Christopher Hampton, Aysha Waheed, Katelyn Greaton and Jenna Edmonds & Naomi Lavender.
♦ Live dance by Frankie Mulinix and Jacquelyn Pritz
♦ Circus, music and performance art by Flight of Swallows, Ember Webb, Lucy Eden, Nicolette Emanuelle and The Valkyrie.
♦ Artistic responses to Stephanie Burt’s NEA Big Read selection “Advice from the Lights.”
♦ Vital community conversations and connections through 7 Stages’ Service Saturday and Art of Activism platforms.
Through 7 Stages’ website, residents also will have another opportunity to watch the provocative films it produced in the past year.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.7stages.org.
Atlanta History Center
A year after its in-person event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead will host a virtual Juneteenth celebration starting June 7.
Since 2013, the center has hosted an annual Juneteenth celebration. This year’s event will focus on ways to honor and support African-American cultural traditions related to Juneteenth within communities in Atlanta. Virtual activities will be augmented by a month-long campaign aimed at highlighting and honoring Black innovation, creativity and activism.
The center’s events are as follows:
♦ June 7 at 7 p.m.: virtual author talk and panel discussion – Annette Gordon-Reed in conversation with Virginia Prescott, via Zoom. Gordon-Reed, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, will talk about her newest book, a collection of essays and meditation on the past, present and future of the Juneteenth holiday. The event is free to but a book purchase is appreciated.
♦ June 17: in-person blood drive at the center. The American Red Cross is hosting the event to address an urgent need for African American blood donors, since blood donations from Black donors have dropped since the pandemic started.
♦ June 21 at 6:30 p.m.: Steve Fiffer, Al Vivian and Andrew Young in conversation with Ernie Suggs, discussing C.T. Vivian’s memoir, “It’s In the Action,” via Zoom. This panel will explore Vivian’s life and legacy through a discussion of his posthumously published memoir, co-written with Fiffer. The event is free to but a book purchase is appreciated.
Through the center’s website, it is offering about a dozen other virtual programs and videos, to educate residents on Black history before and after Juneteenth.
For more information, visit atlantahistorycenter.com.
Flux Projects will present Charmaine Minniefield’s Remembrance as Resistance: Preserving Black Narratives in its entirety June 19. Honoring recently discovered unmarked graves in the African American burial grounds of Atlanta’s Historic Oakland Cemetery, Remembrance as Resistance was intended to be an in-person event last year. It will be on display through July 11.
Flux Projects is an organization that “produces temporary public art projects that connect and grow artists and audiences in Atlanta through the creative power of place,” a news release stated.
Through this project, Minniefield honors the Ring Shout, a traditional African-American worship and gathering custom, whose origins in West African ritual and ceremony predate slavery. She explores evidence of its survival in contemporary dance, music and spoken word as testament to the resilience of a citizenry.
The project features a replica of a Praise House, a small wooden structure used for worship, and includes a multimedia installation of the Ring Shout with video projections on the inside of the building and a sound installation radiating from the structure over the newly restored African American burial grounds.
To ensure the safety of audience members during the pandemic, a limited number of individuals will be admitted into the Praise House at a time, and masks will be required for entry.
Tickets are free, but attendees are encouraged to reserve a time for viewing, and reservations will be prioritized over walkups. For more information or to reserve a spot, visit www.fluxprojects.org.
The Historic Oakland Foundation will also provide free tours of the African American burial grounds during the run of the project. For more information, visit www.oaklandcemetery.com.
Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market, located in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, is hosting a special Juneteenth event June 19 as part of its bimonthly PCM Goes Inside Out series that started in April.
Held at The Courtyard and The Yard, the event brings outside food and drink from Ponce restaurants and includes seasonal themes with music, yard games and family activities. The Juneteenth event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
PCM Goes Inside Out runs through December. For more information, visit www.poncecitymarket.com.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta will host two virtual Juneteenth events on June 18.
♦ From Power to Power: A New Day of Freedom will take place at noon and will feature a performance by the A La Carte Theatre company, led by writer/director Nikki Toombs. “From Power to Power is a multiple disciplinary theater experience celebrating freedom as a vital component to the African-American experience,” the center’s event email states.
♦ Jubilee: A Juneteenth Experience is set for 1 p.m. and will celebrate the holiday through music, history and culture. “Log on to enjoy music inspired by this history, hear from a speaker about Juneteenth’s continued legacy and find a new piece of your tradition,” the center’s event email states.
Preregistration is recommended for both events.
The center will also host an in-person, 500-book giveaway through a partnership between the T-Mobile Foundation and the African American Museum Association to put 7,500 books in the hands of children across the nation. Atlanta is one of 14 cities nationwide to be included in the giveaway.
Three books will be donated: “Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History” and “Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History,” both by Vashti Harrison and recommended for babies to 9-year-olds, and “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Ibram X. Kendi (recommended for 6- to 10-year-olds).
The books will be given away June 18 from 1 to 3 p.m., June 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. and June 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Books are available on a first-come, first-served basis while quantities last, and one does not have to preregister to receive a book.
For more information or to register for the two virtual events, visit www.civilandhumanrights.org.