MIAMI – Juneteenth takes place every year on June 19. The day marking the end of slavery in the U.S. is also a federally recognized holiday, and Miami will begin celebrations starting Thursday night.
For generations, our country’s “Second Independence Day” has been celebrated with gatherings, cookouts, music, laughter and pride in Black freedom.
And that’s no different in South Florida.
At the Arsht Center’s first Juneteenth Juke Joint, the event will pay homage to the rich history of Black music, culture and food in the South.
“We want to be able to have a sense of community,” said Bridget Stegall, co-founder of Heritage at Arsht Center.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
That’s the date in 1865 that the enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told that they were free.
Last year on June 17, President Joe Biden signed a bill to officially make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
This year, the Arsht Center’s Heritage Project Series wanted to recognize that with the Juneteenth Juke Joint.
The project’s co-founder said they’re creating a space for Black joy while celebrating artists in the community through special events like this.
“We were inspired by juke joints of the early 1900s in America. More of a rural feel where people just got together,” Stegall said.
At the Juke Joint, you can expect to hit the dance floor as there will be a DJ and live performances, including a set by Miami native and R&B singer Lavie.
She’s headlining the event and her performance is going to take you on a journey through music with covers by local pillars of the community, like Betty Wright and some original music, as well.
“We have a beautiful show that we put together for everyone and we know that they’re going to enjoy it,” Lavie said. “It’s going to be filled with singing, dancing and a great performance. It’s going to be fantastic, trust me.”
Don’t forget to grab a plate while you’re there. Some Southern food dishes are up for grabs along with mixed drinks.
The Arsht Center’s Peacock Foundation Studio is turning into a one-night only hotspot.
“We want to see Miami’s finest. We also want to see people comfortable because we expect people to be on the dance floor having a good time,” Stegall said.
Even though Juneteenth is recognized, every May 20 Florida celebrates Emancipation Day.
Emancipation was declared on that day in 1865, 11 days after the Civil War and two years after Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation freeing slaves in southern states.
Click here for more information about the Juneteenth Juke Joint and to purchase tickets.