TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – June 19, marks a day of importance and significance for many people across the county.
The day, referred to as Juneteenth, is celebrated in honor of when those last slaves, held in the state of Texas, learned that they were finally free. Slavery was legally abolished in December 1865.
Fast forward to Juneteenth, 2019. This day is marked with huge celebrations across Tampa, some encompassing the whole month of June.
Pastor Philetha Tucker-Johnson, President of The Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition, heads several of those events.
“We are very happy to have gotten the opportunity to get involved with the celebration. It has been celebrated since 1865 but some of us are just waking up. So, right now, I call it our Juneteenth journey,” said Pastor Tucker-Johnson.
“We like to try to build everyone together in the community together to celebrate what has happened and what our ancestors meant to us,” said Jessie Quinn, who is also with the Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition.
8 on your Side also spoke with Dwight Bolden, show host of Keepin It Real Underground Radio.
“When it comes to Juneteenth, Tampa is unique out of all cities in America. We celebrate from the beginning of the month to the end of the month,” said Bolden.
Bolden credits himself with being one of the first to bring Juneteenth celebrations to the Tampa Bay area. He also believes there can be even more done to further advance the day that commemorates freedom.
“What we have to do is, first of all, is unite our sources. When I say our sources is every organization that is doing something for Juneteenth, we need to come together. Get our sponsors in line. We can raise more money together than by keeping it separate,” said Bolden.
Although Juneteenth ends Wednesday, there are still a handful of celebrations throughout the Tampa Bay area that are scheduled for later this month:
Cabaret Comedy Night: Juneteenth Edition
- When: June 19, 9:00 p.m.
- Where: Lion’s Den, 1704.5 E. 7th Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33605, Tampa
2nd Annual Miss Juneteenth Pageant
- When: Jun 21, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Where: TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, 4121 N 50th St., Tampa, FL 33610
- The 2nd Annual Miss Juneteenth Pageant will be hosted by 8 On Your Side’s Rod Carter. Tickets are $10.
Juneteenth Brunch & Cultural Celebration
- When: June 22,11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Where: Jerk Hut Island Grille and Beach Club,1241 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33612
2019 Tampa Bay Juneteenth Coalition Community Awards Banquet
- When: June 22, 6:30 p.m to 9:00 p.m.
- Where: Charles Davis Conference Center, 1002 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Tampa, FL 33603
For more information, visit the Tampa Bay’s Juneteenth’s coalition website or contact Jorad Holmes, at 941-812-1135.