“The Continual Evolution OF JUNETEENTH” Buffalo Marks its 46th Consecutive Festival This Year With a Virtual Experience and Some Locals Create Their Own Special Events for A Celebration of Freedom

This year’s theme of the official Juneteenth of Buffalo   “The Continual Evolution of Juneteenth” is fitting, as we are witnessing  this Freedom celebration  continue to grow and expand  even in the midst of uncertainty. 

Last year Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation  into law last October  that made Juneteenth a State Holiday.  This year 2021  we celebrate the first Juneteenth as an official state holiday. Additionally in Buffalo, Mayor Brown announced that  for all  City  of Buffalo employees Juneteenth is also a paid holiday and on Tuesday June 15 the Senate unanimously passed a resolution  establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a US holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Ahead of the Game Buffalo  is a long way from Galveston, Texas where Juneteenth was birthed in 1865. But this culturally rich   community in upstate New York has been celebrating Juneteenth for  almost 50 consecutive years. It  is one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations in the country. It all began in 1976. That was the year America was preparing to celebrate its  bi- Centennial.   The BUILD organization  of Buffalo, a leading  civil/human rights organization  which was at the time headed by William “Bill” Gaiter, sought to find  a culturally relevant alternative to the country’s Bicentennial Celebration.  Historical research led to the discovery of the history of Juneteenth. The group blocked off part of Jefferson Avenue –  the “Main Street” of Buffalo’s Black community — for a weekend celebration. That  same year the Festival of Juneteenth was launched. After several years, the Juneteenth Festival outgrew Jefferson Avenue and was moved. It’s now held in Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the intersection of Best Street and Fillmore Avenue. At one time the festival drew upwards of 10,000 people during the 2-day event. 

See a List of Various Events Happening for the JuneTeenth Weekend  from both the Official Juneteenth of Buffalo  and from Locals Who have Created Special Events for You to Enjoy  and Celebrate Freedom! 

The  Official 2021 Juneteenth of Buffalo Festival’s 46th annual event  will be a  VIRTUAL experience this year with some supportive live events .               Go to buffalojuneteenth.com for official event links, festival updates, official merchandise and head over to the official face book page to check out the festival on facebook.com/JuneteenthOfBuffaloFestival  Also follow their official social media pages Twitter @juneteenthofbuf on Instagram @JuneteenthOfBuffaloFestival  and on Youtube @JuneteenthOfBuffaloFestival

Friday June 18

A concert to celebrate Juneteenth and freedom at the Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Pkwy.,7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.Registration/Tickets available via our website: buffalojuneteenth.com Event is FREE, but must have ticket to enter.  Masks will be required and social distancing will be in effect.  Capacity is limited.

•Community Clean Up 9:30am-11am with Canisius College, Juneteenth HQ 1517 Genesee

• June 18,19 and 20 Africa’s Gift To The World Art And Sculpture Exhibit 1-7 p.m.  on Juneteenth weekend Friday at Juneteenth Headquarters, 1517 Genesee at Moselle. It will also be open the following weekend June 25,26,27. The time  1-7pm each day

June 19 Join The FreeTHEM Walkers for a celebration of a lifetime.  Walk the last mile of Freedom with Kelly Diane Galloway and  the FREETHEM Walkers into our historic corridor while being led by General of the New Orleans second line dance, Michelle Gibson for an AMAZING Celebration. Here are times you should know to celebrate with the FreeTHEM Walk  

 11am- Meet at City Hall

12pm- Walk to Corridor  (if you need wheelchair assistance please email us: info@projectmonashouse.com)

1:00pm- FreeTHEM Performances begins Go to projectmonashouse.com for more info

•June NOW YOU SEE ME opens June 19 and runs through June 25th  presented by the African  American Cultural Center’s Paul Robeson Theatre. Daytime and evening performances will feature characters known as “The Fam, Everybody’s Momma, and Pops” (Sandra Clay, Chalma Warmley, Linda Barr, Yao Kahlil Newkirk, Tequoyah Newkirk & The Newkirk Dynasty). Tickets are $22 and may be purchased at www.YaoKahlil.com or by visiting and calling the Paul Robeson Theatre 716.884.2013. The Center/Theatre is located at 350 Masten Avenue.

•June 19 and 20 Typography of Women will stream over the Juneteenth of Buffalo Facebook page  Saturday, June 19th and Sunday, June 20th,  a dramatic enactment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic commentary on racial injustice in his “Letter From A Birmingham Jail”   follow Typography of a Woman on Facebook to learn more about the project or see this weeks story posted here in full detail on thechallengernews.com 

Buffalo Juneteenth and Buy Black Buffalo  (and on IG )Hosting Pop Up Celebrations Supporting Black Owned Businesses  During Juneteenth with Performances at the following venues:

June 17 

5pm Ike and BG’s Soul Food 1646 Genesee Artist-  Conscious Hip Hop artist Millie Rae

6pm Buffalo Soul 454 pearl Street Artist /Activity Reaggae Singer Yokunde

Time TBD: Fillmore Express Flea Market  1870 Fillmore Ave. Artist/Activity Poet Truletta Williams

June 18: All Day African Drummers  and Various Artist Activities will be at the following locations

2:30 pm Juneteenth Headquarters 1517 Genesee St.

3:30pm  Zawadi Books 1382 Jefferson Ave.

4:30pm Saibo African Imports 81 Allen St.

6:00pm Paint the Town 74 Allen Paint Party and Poet Truletta Wiliams

June 19  Black Monarchy Pop Up event 11am -7pm  527 W. Utica Artist/Activity : Live DJ  / Various

More  Celebratory Events Happening Live During Juneteenth Weekend That You Don’t Want to Miss !

June 19 – The Freedom Festival 10am – 6pm
 The Freedom Festival 2021 at Johnnie B Wiley Sports Pavilion 1100 Jefferson Ave. The Jubilee begins at 10am at Madella Market  pm East Ferry and Jefferson with a parade that will make its way up Jefferson to the Johnny B. Wiley Stadium. The festival will take place at the stadium from 12noon until 6pm  where there will be live entertainment, food trucks and vendors  to celebrate our independence day.  For more info contact ourfreedomfest@gmail.com 

June 19 5pm -6:30pm  The Michigan Street Baptist Church 511 Michigan Ave Commemorative celebration for Bishop William Henderson With Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor  Celebrating the legacy and life of Historian Bishop and Leader with song, words of life and video footage

June 19th    at 9pm , 10pm and 11pm the Atlantis School for Gifted Youngsters in collaboration with Canada’s Niagara Parks and Niagara Falls illumination Board will be lighting up the Falls in honor of Juneteenth  with Red Black and Green colors of the Black Liberation flag, the Pan African Flag for black people across  the diaspora and in Africa .   The Atlantis School for Gifted Youngsters “what is Juneteenth?” animation episode will be shared on the Niagara Parks website and social media page which teaches the history and significance of this federal holiday.   follow @atlantisbuild on social media and keep up with  the series and other collaborations.

June 19 Girl Gang Entertainment Poolside Picnic ‘N Paint  Event  supporting local businesses with -Paint session facilitated by The Left Handed Bandit -Charcuterie boards: Board In Buffalo -Wine: Paradise Wine  Get more info and ticket priced options at: picnicnpaint.eventbrite.com  and follow them on social media @GirlGangEntGGE ( this is a paid event )

June 1, 19, 20 NEIGHBORHOOD SALE! Leslie’s Boutique and Anderson’s  Flower Designs is having a Neighborhood  Sale  this Juneteenth weekend  Friday, Saturday and Sunday    June 18,19,20 from 11 am – 5 pm just In time for Father’s Day.  They’re located at 1474-1476 Fillmore. Stop by for  great savings on items from shoes and clothing to glass ware and more!

•June 20th 10am Juneteenth/ Fathers Day Boating Event – The Urban Rowing League is proud to host a special Juneteenth challenge for Dad’s – which is called a Mile in the Nile, the father of African rivers beginning at 10am at Hoyt Lake.  There are prizes for Dads and its free to rent the boats and participate.   Contact Dewitt Lee at 716-294-7904 for information

Sunday June 20  at 12 noon BSuite Podcast celebrates Juneteenth  and the FreeTHEM walkers with a live in person event . outside at the Northland Workforce Training Center 683 Northland  where you can hear all about the FreeTHEM Walk and meet the walkers!  Visit  @bsuitepodcast.com and follow their links on social media @bsuiteposdcast RSVP required . Seating Limited .
Sunday June 20 at  6pm- The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, 825 Depot Ave and The FreeTHEM Walk team captain Kelly Diane Galloway will be hosting an up-close conversation with overcomer, author and motivational speaker Cyntoia Brown  about her victorious story, her book  with music by @drea_dnur! Purchase your tickets at www.thefreethemwalk.com or buy them at the door on the day of the event!  Follow them on social media @niagarafallsugrr

June 25 and 26 Buffalo Freedom Gardens Commemorating Juneteenth :To free yourself, you must feed yourself.” Buffalo Freedom Gardens is commemorating Juneteenth on Friday, June 25 and Saturday June 26th with two initiatives. On June 25th at 4pm in the Jesse Clipper Park located on Michigan and William, as part of the Just Buffalo Literary Center’s “Civil Writes Project” Grassroots Gardens, the CopperTown Block Club and Freedom Gardens will be reading books to  children that teaches them about the Underground Railroad. Each child will receive two free books, Frederick Douglass, The last day of slavery, and the Patchwork Path and will be a plants and tools to start their own garden!  On Saturday, June 26th Freedom Gardens volunteers will be distributing Earth Boxes to the 2021 Buffalo Freedom Garden recipients. If you would like to assist contact Gail Wells at yourfreedomgarden@gmail.com

•June19 Galactic Tribe  is hosting a pop up for artist Emeka Wajed’s latest design for the tribe and the   Wakanda Alliance program at Khari’s Cafe 128 Fargo st. In further celebration of Juneteenth the tribe  will lead conversations to connect Juneteenth and Kwanzaa by highlighting the 7 Principles for each month in between. This is a continual virtual experience where the highlights will be made . Find out more and follow them  on their  Instagram  and Facebook pages and visit their website for full details updates and monthly events  on  www.thegalactictribe.org.”

Juneteenth Weekend Kharis’ Cafe located at 128 Fargo will have special menu items for juneteenth including Banana pudding and peach cobbler artisan ice creams, $5 pound cake, $5 coffee and bagel specials and also accepting donations for Black Led organizations on the day. Stop in and celebrate with Kharis’s Cafe.

Juneteenth Weekend with SKOVU TV streaming their JuneTeenth Film Festival All Weekend highlighting several films on  their network that deal with emancipation and freedom. SkovuTV is Buffalos first and Black Owned streaming service you can find more about them on skovutv.com 







Artists Pop Up  with BuyBlackBuffalo  www.BuyblackBuffalo.com