KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The 17th annual Juneteenth Celebration in June will feature the staging of a multi-faceted production and dramatic reading as well as honor Kalamazoo mass shooting victim Tiana Carruthers.
This year's celebration will feature "Waiting for Freedom to Come," which is written and directed by Buddy Hannah. The event starts at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 19, in Dalton Center Recital Hall on Western Michigan University's main campus.
About the production
"Waiting for Freedom to Come" tells the history of Juneteenth as shared by Viola Simmons, whose great, great, great grandfather was among the enslaved people present on June 19, 1865. On that day the enslaved people of Texas received word that they were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The production incorporates songs, dance, drumming and poetry to explain why people celebrate this historic event. The production features Angela "Double A" Anderson, Dorla Bonner and Hannah, with performances by Charles "The Poet" Peterson, Kendall Campbell, Dorisha Reed, Belinda Hill, Cantrina Johnson, Jimmy Plair, Jeanne Plair, Nathanial Waller and the Ujima Dancers.
Juneteenth is the oldest African American celebration and is a major recognition of freedom just as other independence holidays around the world. It is a way to observe and share the proud history of African American strength, endurance and resilience and a way to pass on the legacy of culture to children while honoring those ancestors who never gave up the struggle for freedom.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for seniors and students with ID and members of groups of 10 or more. Children 5 years of age and under are free. Tickets can be purchased at Jaddin's Precious Soul Café, 701 Riverview Drive, (269) 459-6446; Douglass Community Association, 1000 W. Paterson St., (269) 343-6185; Fresh-N-Clean Barber & Beauty, 1381 S Drake Rd., (269) 349-3907; and the Black Arts & Cultural Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, (269) 349-1035.
For more information, contact Dr. Lewis Walker, WMU professor emeritus of sociology, at (269) 375-0913 or Mimi Abdul Bellamy at (269) 387-2141.