After a year in which it held a virtual Juneteenth celebration in 2020, Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum will once again bring its celebration to the streets with an in-person block party on Saturday, June 19.
The free event, held on the 200 block of Montgomery Street in front of the museum, will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., featuring free admission to the museum and Children’s Wing, live music and a host of local food and merchandise and craft vendors.
“After not being able to hold an in-person celebration last year due to the COVID-19, we are very excited to be able to bring our block party back this year,” said Donna Beisel, the museum’s assistant director and K-12 coordinator. “Our goal is to commemorate Juneteenth by celebrating African American freedom with a focus on education and achievement. Through this event, we hope to bring people together from all walks of life to honestly recognize our shared history while embracing the African American experience.”
Observed annually on June 19, Juneteenth is the oldest known commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, commemorating the date in 1865 when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops landed at Galveston Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free.
Comedienne JOY, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Clean,” will serve as the emcee for the event. Musical entertainment will be provided by DJ at Large with the group Souled Out Groove headlining the festivities. The event will also include a children’s activity area, and the 1950s era Montgomery City Bus will be on display. Big Mo, the mascot of the Montgomery Biscuits, will be on hand from noon to 1 p.m.
Leading up to Saturday’s event, the museum will host the free panel discussion “Montgomery Then and Now,” presented by the Un(re)solved Juneteenth Committee, at 6 p.m. on June 17 in the museum’s auditorium. Un(re)solved is a major new initiative of the acclaimed PBS investigative series FRONTLINE that seeks to tell the story of lives cut short and examine a federal effort to investigate more than 150 cold case murders dating back to the Civil Rights era.
Publishing in phases beginning this month, Un(re)solved tells the stories of those on the Till Act list — voting rights advocates, veterans, Louisville’s first female prosecutor, business owners, mothers, fathers and children — who they left behind, and the families still seeking justice today.
Panelists will focus on the state of Montgomery and discuss their perspectives on how the city’s past is dictating its future, the role of public protesting and how millennials can shape the city’s future. Included on the panel, which will be moderated by WVAS-FM News Director Melanie Hogan, is: Anthony Brock, head of school at Valiant Cross Academy; Phillip Ensler, senior policy advisor to Mayor Steven L. Reed; Dr. Regina Moorer, assistant professor of political science at Alabama State University; Makhayla DesRosiers, senior political science major at Alabama State University; and, Nick Johnson, community activist.
In conjunction with the panel discussion, the Un(re)solved AR installation will be on display in the museum’s gallery from June 14-19, and available for viewing, free of charge, during the museum’s normal hours of operation.
The sponsors for the museum’s Juneteenth activities are: Audrey Graham, Montgomery City Council, District 4; Alabama Power; Renasant Bank; Trenholm State Community College; and, the Montgomery Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. Contributing partners are: the Capri Theatre; PBS Frontline; the City of Montgomery Cultural Affairs and Special Events Departments; the NAACP of Alabama; the National Education and Empowerment Coalition; More Than Tours; and, NaNa Music Productions.
For additional information, contact the museum at 334-241-8615.