Juneteenth Celebration African American Cultural Garden 890 Martin Luther King Drive - Cleveland June 19, 2023
The African American Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio hosted their annual Juneteenth celebration on Monday June 19, 2023.
The celebration also included the unveiling and dedication of an Ohio Historical Marker along the Cleveland Civil Rights Trail.
Hundreds gathered in the Garden for music, speeches, camaraderie, food and family fun.
After a caravan of cars with DaLaun Dillard, Co-Anchor of News 5, serving as Caravan Grand Marshal, Councilman Kevin Conwell's band Footprints entertained the crowd. This video is a powerful a cappella spiritual that included the line: "Before I be a slave I'll be buried in my grave…"
Councilman Kevin Conwell
The program began with Beverly Lloyd, Chairperson of the Juneteenth event, welcoming the crowd and thanking DaLaun Dillard for serving as Caravan Grand Marshal.
After some drumming, Kwanza Brewer led a libations ceremony to honor ancestors.
Obie Shelton, Executive Director of the Association of African American Cultural Gardens, served as MC of the Juneteenth ceremony in Cleveland. After welcoming the crowd he introduced Rev. Hilton O. Smith for an opening prayer. Then AAACG board member led the crowd in a verse of Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Next, Cleveland State University professor Prester Pickett spoke.
After getting permission from the elders he called up some of the young people in the audience to assist in his Juneteenth Reenactment. He told the history of Juneteenth as the young people represented Harriet Beecher Stowe, President Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, Susie Baker King Taylor and General Gordon Granger. They all played important roles in the Juneteenth story.
Obie Shelton introduced Carl S. Ewing, President of the AAACG who gave his remarks. Carl spoke of the history of the African American Garden and introduced the daughter of Leo Jackson and the son of Booker Tall who were visionaries in the Garden.
Next Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation board chair Dr. Wael Khoury gave his remarks which included an update on all the Gardens.
Dr. Wael Khoury
Many civic leaders spoke at the Juneteenth ceremony in the African American Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio including Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Conwell, former councilman Jeff Johnson, County Councilman Pernel Jones and Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne.
The day continued with speeches, music, food and family fun. Here are a few images from the day.
Rev. Hilton Smith, Carl Ewing and Jeff Johnson
Family of the Garden Visionaries visiting the Doorway of No Return
Barbara Danforth and Jeff Johnson
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