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juneteenth

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit ended its week-long celebration of Juneteenth with a rally at the city’s Spirit Plaza on Friday.

Juneteenth—June 19—commemorates the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas learned they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

Juneteenth is getting unusually widespread attention this year, as Americans protest police brutality and racism.

But some Americans have, for years, celebrated it as the day that marks our ancestors' emancipation.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Everyone learned about Independence Day in school: on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the United States to be a free nation.

But not everyone was free. Nearly a century later, Black people remained enslaved throughout the country.

And many Americans still haven't learned about the day that celebrates their freedom: Juneteenth.

Mr. Music / Adobe Stock

Movie theater company Emagine Entertainment has backed off its plan to reopen a suburban Detroit movie theater on Friday after company chairman Paul Glantz received a letter Thursday from the office of Attorney General Dana Nessel that said to open would be against the law.

Mr. Music / Adobe Stock

The Emagine Royal Oak theater is planning to reopen on Friday for a weeklong Juneteenth film festival, even though the reopening would violate Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that indoor movie theaters remain closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whitmer's spokesperson Tiffany Brown said the Governor expects that by July 4th, movie theaters throughout the state may be allowed to open, subject to specific health and safety restrictions. That option is currrently available in only two of eight regions in Michigan.

the album cover of Nadir Omowale's single "Run"
Original Artwork by Jabarr Harper

Like many artists and activists right now, artist and producer Nadir Omowale has been reflecting on and reacting to the protests against police brutality happening in Michigan and across the country. It inspired Omowale to finally release a song he's been working on for years. It’s dropping on Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the end of slavery in America. He’s been working on the song since 1998. It’s called “Run.”

Photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit is celebrating Juneteenth with a week-long series of events starting on Monday.

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19. It commemorates the day in 1865 that slaves in Texas learned they would be freed.

Men playing drums
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Residents and city officials in Grand Rapids came together Wednesday to celebrate Juneteenth.

Dickinson Buffer Park in Grand Rapids was full of kids running across the grass, tents with Pan-African flags and bracelets, and older residents sitting and laughing with their neighbors.