Set your notifications for 6 p.m. this Friday night and Saturday night for Evanston's first Juneteenth Parade!
The parade, which will be virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will nevertheless be choc-a-block with entertainment, education, reflection, and joy. The virtual events will be followed by a celebratory Juneteenth car parade at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 27, with more details to come soon.
The events this Friday and Saturday will be streamed live on You Tube, on Evanston Present and Future's Facebook page, and on Dear Evanston's Facebook page. Everyone in Evanston is encouraged to tune in!
Let us know you'll be there by clicking "going" on the Juneteenth Evanston event page!
Evanston's Juneteenth parade is organized by Kemone Hendricks of Evanston Present and Future. Last year, Hendrick's arranged a Juneteenth celebration at the Noyes Cultural Center which drew about 100 people. She hopes that hundreds more will tune in this weekend, and that annual Juneteenth celebrations continue to be an integral part of Evanston in the future.
Find out more about Juneteenth from Fran Joy, Hecky Powell, and others, in the video below of last year's event.
A quick history lesson
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was onJune 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official January 1, 1863. But the Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans because there were so few Union troops in Texas to enforce the new Executive Order. But, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
"Juneteenth is a delicate balance of honoring people who were sold as property, who had no control of their destinies, and to remember there are still significant social injustices," said Baxter Swilley at last year's event.
"But we're also here to ensure that Juneteenth is a celebration."
While 46 states recognize Juneteenth, it has yet to be declared a national holiday. On June 8, 2020 Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty and the City council proclaimed June Juneteenth month.
Kemone Hendricks is working toward ensuring that Juneteenth becomes a national holiday.
Sign Kemone's petition.
What's coming up this weekend?
Starting at 6 p.m., the evening will include: music and dance performances from local youth; presentations by Shorefront Legacy Center founder Dino Robinson; remarks from fifth ward Ald. Robin Rue Simmons who prepared a Juneteenth Proclamation for Evanston in honor of Hecky Powell's wish expressed at last year's Juneteenth celebration; remarks from Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty; a special guest interview with Opal Lee, the 93-year-old social activist from Fort Worth, Texas who is traveling the country to gain support for making Juneteenth a national holiday; and much more.
The full schedule for Friday night will be released on Thursday.
C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor will host a Juneteenth pop-up shop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring childrens books from Young, Black & Lit, along with Juneteenth merchandise such as t-shirts and yard signs. And of course, there'll be ice-cream!
Tune in on Saturday for a dramatic reading of the play A Day of Absence, written by Douglas Turner Ward.
Professional actors and amateur community members will perform the play, directed by Tim Rhoze, artistic director of Evanston's Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre.
The play, written in 1965, is a reverse minstrel show, in which Black actors play the white residents of a small Southern town who wake up one morning to discover that all the town's Black residents have disappeared. The play depicts the ensuing chaos that descends when the Black people—whose work makes the whites’ privilege possible—fail to show up for work. It's over-the-top humor provides sharp commentary on systemic racism in 1965 ... and is still relevant today.
There'll be time for Q and A after. A link will be provided during the play.
There's still time to purchase your Juneteenth Merch!
There are many great Juneteenth celebratory and commemorative items--including earrings, necklaces, yard signs, face masks (yes, we all need those!), t-shirts, and hoodies--available for purchase here.
Special Juneteenth dinners available!
Below are menu item options. Contact the restaurants directly to reserve your “Juneteenth Dinner” order.
Hecky's Barbecue Juneteenth Dinner Menu Options
Dinner for 6: $75.00 or $12.50/person
Rib tips with sauce Smoked chicken wings with sauce on the side Macaroni and cheese Greens 6 corn muffins 6 bottles of Juneteenth Strawberry Soda
Dinner for 4: $50.00 or $12.50/person
Rib tips with sauce Smoked chicken wings with sauce on the side Macaroni and cheese Greens 4 corn muffins 4 bottles of Juneteenth Strawberry Soda
Hecky’s BBQ 847-492-1182 Good To Go Jamaican Restaurant Juneteenth dinner menu options
Dinner for 4: $60 or $15/person
Meat choices: Jerk BBQ chicken or Jerk BBQ wings Jerk Rib Tips ($70/4)
SIDES Choose 2:
Mac n Cheese Potato Salad Sweet Potato Collard Green Rice and Beans Steamed Cabbage 4 bottles of Juneteenth Strawberry Soda 4 homemade tea cakes from Noir d'Ébène Chocolat et Patisserie Dinner for 6: $90 or $15/person
Jerk BBQ chicken or Jerk BBQ wings Jerk Rib Tips ($105/6) SIDES Choose 2: Mac n Cheese