Long overdue! Evanston's first-ever Juneteenth parade will happen in 2020! **Auditions for young dancers announced**

November 6, 2019

Thanks to Kemone Hendricks and a growing group of interested Evanston community members, Evanston will hold its first Juneteenth parade next year.

 

Juneteenth falls on Friday, June 19, 2020. It's celebrated every year in honor of one of the final acts of emancipation of enslaved Africans and African Americans in the U.S. Juneteenth began in Galveston, Texas where on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major Gen. Gordon Granger landed with news that the Civil War had ended and slaves were free.

 

The announcement came two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 that had ended slavery in the U.S. But, since that proclamation was made during the Civil War, it was ignored by Confederate states. It wasn't until the end of the war that the Executive Order was enforced in the South.

 

In preparation for the parade and festivities, dance choreographer Dandria 𝓓𝓪𝓷𝓲 𝓙𝓸 𝓦𝓲𝓵𝓵𝓲𝓪𝓶𝓼 and Kemone Hendricks will hold auditions for students aged eight to 16 to form a creative dance team that will perform during the parade and at another event that weekend.

 

Here are audition details from Kemone and Dandria.

 

*SAVE THE DATE*

Date: February 8th 2020
Location: TBD
Time: TBD
Dancers: Black/African American, Boys and Girls
Age: 8 to 16
Song: “Wade in the Water”

 

More about the song:

 

"Wade in the Water" is one of the many songs (another famous one is "Follow the Drinking Gourd") associated with the Underground Railroad and enslaved people who were escaping enslavement. These songs contained explicit (though secret) instructions to fugitive slaves about how to avoid capture and which route to take to successfully make their way to freedom.

 

"Wade in the Water" was first formally published in 1901 by Fisk Jubilee Singers. According to many sources, Harriet Tubman used the song to tell men, women, and children who were escaping slavery to leave the trail and get into the water to make sure the slave-catchers' dogs wouldn't be able to sniff out their trail.

 

Without this song, many escaping people would have been caught on their way to reaching safety and freedom. This song remains one of the most significant encoded slave songs in history.

 

Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Who's that young girl dressed in red
Wade in the water
Must be the children that Moses led
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Who's that young girl dressed in white
Wade in the water
Must be the children of Israeli
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Who's that young girl dressed in blue
Wade in the water
Must be the children that's coming through
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

 

You don't believe I've been redeemed
Wade in the water
Just see the holy ghost looking for me
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Wade in the water
Wade in the water children
Wade in the water
God's gonna trouble the water

 

Listen to Mavis Staples singing Wade in the Water here.

 

Learn more about Wade in the Water and other spirituals here.

 

Learn more about Juneteenth (and last year's celebration in Evanston) here.

 

DONATE to support Evanston's first-ever Juneteenth parade here.

About Dandria and her company, Dani Jo:

 

Dani Jo is a Chicago native and a sought-after dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. She weaves together classical, interpretive, and street style dance..often in one routine.

 

A graduate of Columbia College and student of Gil Duldulao, Dani Jo served as head choreographer for The Harold Washington Cultural Center from 2013 to 2015. She also served as Head Choreographer for the University of Chicago Charter Schools for the 2015-16 season, as well as instructor for The Joffrey Ballet from 2016-2019.

 

As a filmmaker, she has directed and co-produced numerous music video projects, including music videos for R&B artist T. L. Williams, Afro-Beat artist Peter Jericho, and R&B legend Syleena Johnson.

 

She founded The Dani Jo Company in 2013.

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