AUGUSTA (WFXG) – Saturday, June 19, is Juneteenth. It’s the oldest national celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, and it’s now considered an official federal holiday. From Augusta to Aiken, people plan to have their own festivities.
You’ll find one of the events at Daniel Field. The Band of Brothers Augusta is putting on its 5th annual festival there. Last year, the event was virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s back in full swing, complete with guest speakers, live performances, inflatables for the kids and food.
FOX 54 spoke with the organization president who says he’s glad to be able to celebrate in person with others again. He feels it’s important to continue to commemorate the holiday.
“This is our Fourth of July. It is the Black, the African-Americans Fourth of July. Point, blank and simple. This is when we were actually free as a people, we weren’t free for the Fourth of July. The last slaves were freed 1865 so that’s the day we celebrate our independence,” said Johnny Gregory.
Gregory feels this past year brought renewed attention to Juneteenth,
“It’s more important now because of the George Floyd death and several other deaths in the Black community, and it just brought more awareness of what we actually have that’s for us. It’s something a lot of people didn’t know, and as they researched it and more and more people talked about it, now everyone knows and now it’s being pushed to the forefront.”
It’s a stance shared by the education manager at the Augusta Museum of History, who will also be putting on an event Saturday.
“After the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed, people really became interested in Juneteenth and needing a reason to celebrate. So, I really want to get to the heart of that, and while we celebrate really remember the history of Juneteenth, and remember why we are doing what we are doing,” said Harvee White.
White also feels involvement is an important piece of the holiday,
“I love the community aspect of it, to me, that’s what Juneteenth is about. It’s like the collective, you know, we’re not free until we are all free, and so I really want to keep it a community thing so the more the merrier, I think.”
Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis will kick off the event at The Augusta Museum with story time Saturday morning. The museum will also offer group pricing, a $2 ticket, if you mention you’re there for the Juneteenth event. White encourages those are interested in getting involved next year to get in touch with the museum now.
As for the Band of Brothers Augusta event, COVID tests, vaccinations and general wellness checks will also be available.
Below, you can find details for these events and more throughout the CSRA.
- Band of Brothers, Daniel Field, 2-8 PM, free to the public
- Juneteenth Inaugural Mega Festival, North Augusta, The Landing on Bogus Hill Road, 8-5 PM
- Grand reopening of the Aiken Center for African American History, 12-3 PM
- Greater Augusta Interfaith Coalition, Southgate Shopping Plaza, 10-2 PM
- Augusta Museum of History Juneteenth Event, 10-3 PM
- Family Fest 2021, 15 8th Street 12PM, free to the public