After a year off, the Juneteenth parade and festivities are back for Milwaukee’s 50th anniversary on June 19. The parade will take off from 14th and Atkinson and go to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. and go to 4:30 p.m.
We can expect a contest hosted by the Northcott Neighborhood House, Inc. and Jammin’ 98.3 to declare a Miss Juneteenth 2021 and Little Miss Juneteenth 2021. This year they will also name a Mister Juneteenth 2021 and Mister Juneteenth Jr. 2021.
Kids 7-18 years old will get the opportunity to win up to $1,500 in scholarships and prizes. To enter, they must live in Milwaukee County or attend a school in Milwaukee County and have a 2.5 grade point average. The application includes a three-minute video submission of a special talent, a paragraph on why they celebrate Juneteenth and a photo.
While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on Jan. 1, 1863, they did not have smart phones to deliver the message of liberation across the country. So, it took a little while to get the message to everyone. Which is why Juneteenth (or Emancipation Day), commemorates the day when the Union Army delivered the news of the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas, and the last slaves in the country were finally freed.
Of the Northern states, Wisconsin – and more specifically Milwaukee – was the first to celebrate Juneteenth. In Wisconsin today it is formally celebrated as a state holiday. It became officially recognized back in 2009, but celebrations began far before. Today, 47 states have adopted it as a state holiday, but it is not yet a national holiday. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) along with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) re-introduced the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in February of this year.
“It’s long past time that we recognize Juneteenth – the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the US – as a federal holiday,” said Sen. Smith.
It is still recommended you wear your masks and social distance during the outdoor event. What better way to spend your time outside than celebrating freedom by watching a parade, learning about history and chowing down on tasty food.