Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in America.

After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, owners in many isolated areas kept word from their slaves so that they would not flee. On June 19, 1865, some of the last slaves in America were freed when the news at last reached Confederate Galveston, Texas. Since that day, Juneteenth has been celebrated to honor the African Americans who built this nation.

Juneteenth Celebration in Cedar Rapids

The 2016 Juneteeth celebration was presented in partnership with the Black Legacy Association of Cedar Rapids June 16-18 at the African American Museum of Iowa and Viola Gibson Park.

2016 Schedule of Events

Thursday, June 16

Extended Evening Hours, 4 to 7 pm
African American Museum of Iowa
African American Museum of Iowa will be open for extended evening hours for celebrants to explore the gallery and learn more about Iowa’s African American Heritage.

Friday, June 17

Inter-Generational Panel, 6:30 p.m.
African American Museum of Iowa

Moderated by KGAN’s Stephanie Johnson
Panelists: Stacey Walker, Orville Townsend, Doris Agyemang and Monica Challenger

Hear a panel of local community members and leaders to speak from their perspectives on issues relating to the changing African American community in the Corridor and how we visualize and define progress. There will be Q & A with audience and refreshments.

Spoken Word Artists: Tiffany Flowers & Micah Ariel James, 7:30 p.m.
African American Museum of Iowa

Saturday, June 18

Juneteenth, 11 am to 4 p.m.
Viola Gibson Park

Artisan Sanctuary Executive Director, Jim Jacobmeyer, along with local artist Horace Wilson will engage youth and adults in exploring their artistic side. Attendees will be free to participate in group graffiti, a mural, and a cityscape collage project. Some of this community art will be on display at the AAMI in the days and weeks following Juneteenth.

Additional children’s activities include mask making, field games, face painting with HipHop Hannah, balloon art with TJ the Clown, crafts, and an inside view of a fire engine courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.

Other activities include health booths and local community organization booths.

Food vendors will include BBQ, fried fish, dogs/burgers, ice cream, and more.

Stage entertainment will feature musicians Kevin Burt, local hip hop artist Imperfekt, spoken word by Tiffany Flowers, master entertainer DJ Kim, and many more talented artists.

Hosted by:
Black Legacy Association

Sponsored by:
African American Museum of Iowa
General Mills
Mercy Medical Center
Alliant Energy
Thrivent Financial