By Asia Nail
The Truth Reporter
Greater Toledo celebrated Juneteenth this past weekend with an array of community events organized and led by our own prominent Black community leaders. It was a beautiful sight to see!
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and has been celebrated annually around the country since 1865.
Marked as a day of cultural celebrations with food, family and friends, this year’s festivities welcomed locals to celebrate a federal holiday that just a year ago didn’t get the national recognition it deserved.
Juneteenth is also a time for reflection and rejoicing, both within BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) communities and those partnered with us in solidarity towards positive change.
According to the historian John W. Cell, black communities adopt “three main approaches” to the problem of racial oppression in America: “accommodation,” or submitting to white dominance with the hopes of securing improvements inside a flawed system; “militant confrontation,” or even overt opposition to all forms of racial discrimination; and “separatism,” or seeking to create an all-black society. As African American people strive to document our own stories and classified themes of accommodation, confrontation, or separatism, we are elated to have a reason to celebrate — and a national holiday to commentate to boot!
John W. Cell was a great American historian, he was also a professor of history at Duke University, and the author of several books, including one comparing segregation in South Africa and the United States. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1986.
The Toledo Lucas County Main Public Library and The Toledo Museum of Art continue to serve as a resource of African American culture here in the Glass City. The Main Public Library kicked off their Toledo Library Juneteenth Celebration festivities this past Saturday in an epic way. Residents attended workshops, a job fair, and demonstrations on the importance of African American contributions.
With Erin Baker at the helm of programming, free events were hosted for the community all day from 10am-10pm. Baker is the organizational learning coordinator for the Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL), where she leads a system-wide model of servant leadership to create an impact in the community.
Community organizers and Leaders of Ohio know that every impact we make affects the lives of others around us. The Library’s Juneteenth commemoration made us aware of our impact as black indigenous people of color.
The Toledo Lucas County Main Public Library thrilled residents with their Celebration of Juneteenth featuring the Katch Band, desserts, and a roof-top sunset reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. It was an amazing experience. The line up of educational festivities were as follows:
THE GOLDEN EMPIRE: KINGS AND QUEENS OF ANCIENT EGYPT & KUSH AND THE NUBIAN DYNASTIES by Alecia Robinson, Sister Art Productions. Ages: 12 – adult, Creativity Lab
MY MIND’S EYE, IT’S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE
by Audrey Johnson. Ages: 12 – adult, requires a cell phone to take digital pictures, The Fredrick McDonald Community Room
BLACK ART IS THE FUTURE: AN ARCHIVES WORKSHOP by Steven Fullwood. Ages: Adults, McMaster Auditorium
MY $2 WORTH: HOW TO SELF- PUBLISH YOUR BOOK by Michael Faulkner. Ages: Adults, Program Room
COMMUNITY COLLAGE by Simone Spruce and Corinthia Parker. Ages: 12 – adult.
The Fredrick McDonald Community Room imagine and create a collage that promotes their various cultures and a sense of belonging centered on the theme of “What does freedom mean to you?”
MARBLEHEAD LIGHTHOUSE DEMONSTRATION AND DISCUSSION by Aaron S. Bivins. Ages: All ages, Creativity Lab.
(The Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization formed to establish a museum for the preservation of the history of this unique village on the shores of Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay, with a special interest in its historic Marblehead Lighthouse.)
A quick roundup for your Juneteenth reading pleasure and future hopeful involvement:
From midday until sundown locals enjoyed both the
2022 Juneteenth Community Health & Wellness Fair and The Frederick Douglass Community Association Juneteenth Celebration.
The Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo presented a day of free health screenings, first aid and CPR training and a variety of family activities at Mott Branch and Smith Park.
The 2022 Juneteenth Community Health & Wellness Fair — The Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo presented a day of free health screenings, NARCAN overdose training, first aid, CPR training and a variety of family activities at Smith Park. Organizers Ruth Leonard and Julian Mack shared, “ Our main goal of our Juneteenth event this year is to uplift each other and encourage Black excellence.”
The Frederick Douglass Community Association also hosted their Juneteenth Celebration — This was the Association’s second annual celebration where they featured a variety of activities for all ages, historical context, vendors, music and more.
As a part of the city-wide festivities. The sultry sounds of Ramona Collins and Arthur Bishop and The Funk Band could be heard by passersby. It was a celebration for the books! Several musical scores by the Toledo Orchestra keep festival participants smiling and dancing. The additional musical arrangements of The African Drum Circle, Blues Man Bobby G, and The Cross Youth Choir could be heard sprinkled with the laughter of children enjoying bouncy house jumping and yummy food truck sustenance.
The Doug thanked all the businesses and partners that participated: Tina Butts (T-Bonds Bail Bonds), Toledo Kwanzaa House, Toledo Edison, Ohio Voter Registration, Toledo Head Start, The Black Genealogy Org., Paparazzi L ZETTAF, Deborah Mnun, Michael Ashford (Ohio House of Representatives from the 44th district 2011-18), The Negro League Basketball Memorabilia PIB LLC., UMADAOP Lucas County, and both University of Toledo & Owens’ Community College Black Student Unions, respectively. A special thank you was offered to Earl Mack of Buffalo Soldiers, The Newsome Gospel Singers, Antwan Oxner, Norris Finley, Jazz Around the World Ent. as well as the various poets with artistic voices that participated.
“Much appreciation for keeping the entertainment at the Doug wholesome and family friendly,” shared the Frederick Douglass Community Association. “We appreciate our sponsors too! Thank you for partnering to make our commemoration a success.”
Last but certainly not least, the first Blackniq Picnic Festival — Celebrate African American Culture — was pure excitement! This Free ‘Glamping’ style event was both eclectic and dare we say, alluring.
The Toledo Black Artist Coalition (TBAC) has partnered with the Toledo Museum of Art for an online exhibit entitled “Out of the Dark: A Historic Journey.” Curated by eight members of TBAC, the exhibit acts as a spotlight of BIPOC art in the museum’s collection by influential creators. Find “Out of the Dark” on toledomuseum.org.
Not only does the African American community honor freedom on Juneteenth in its own right, but we also celebrate the act of emancipation, Abraham Lincoln so kindly provided to our nation those many years ago.
For others in the community who choose to immerse themselves in BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) culture, they stand to benefit a great deal by learning black history from personal experience over traditional narratives needing to be repurposed — first by those who live the black experience daily and then by others who support collective black progress, too.
Often other cultures later realize that not only can they participate in Juneteenth celebrations, but that they should. It’s time to stop creating theatrical narratives of blackness and just be real.
We are making history real again.