Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Lincoln Center – TMBC, 318 East Seventh Street, Davenport IA
An eagerly awaited event complete with food and retail vendors, local- and national-history information, community and resource booths, and fun-filled games and live entertainment for the whole family, the 2023 Quad City Juneteenth Festival will be held at Davenport's Lincoln Center – TMBC on June 17, the day-long celebration held in commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on Texas due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865 and the arrival of General Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
A range of activities were consequently provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Rodeos, fishing, barbecuing, and baseball are just a few of the traditional Juneteenth activities you may witness today, but Juneteenth also focuses on self-improvement, education, a historic recount the events of the past, and prayer services as a major part of the celebrations. On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official holiday in Texas, through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition.
Currently, 37 states have joined Texas in making Juneteenth an official holiday observance, and a movement is in place to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. On April 11, 2002, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a state holiday in Iowa, one that will forever be known as Juneteenth National Freedom Day. On June 15, 2021, the Senate unanimously passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday; it subsequently passed through the House of Representatives by a 415-14 vote on June 16, 2021. Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery, and symbolizes for many African-Americans, what the Fourth of July symbolizes for all Americans: freedom.
The 2023 Quad City Juneteenth Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. At Davenport's Lincoln Center – TMBC, admission is free, and more information is available by calling (563)570-5927 and visiting FOMLK.com.