Kent State University will commemorate Juneteenth with a community celebration that combines the rich history of Black Americans with an assortment of festivities.
The Juneteenth Jubilee will be held on Friday, June 16, 2023, from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. on the Kent Campus, Manchester Field. Enjoy live performances, music, great food, vendors and more. This event is free and open to the public. A map of campus can be viewed here.
On June 19, Americans across the country celebrate Juneteenth, the commemoration of the day in 1865 when enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, got the news that the Civil War had ended, and they were now free. Slavery in states engaged in rebellion against the Union had ended a full two years before, when President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became official on Jan. 1, 1863. And it wasn’t long before Black Americans began to celebrate Juneteenth, the name derived from combining June and 19th.
In 1980, Texas began recognizing Juneteenth as an official state holiday, and in 2020, a total of 47 states and the District of Columbia recognizes the date as well. In 2021, the U.S. Senate and House passed measures to recognize Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday. President Joe Biden signed the legislation on June 17, 2021.
Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center hosted the 2021 Juneteenth Jubilee and Kent State students were integral in planning the event.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
- 4:00 p.m. - Food trucks and vendors open
- 4:30 p.m. - Mwatabu Okantah & Friends featuring Vince Robinson
- 5:00 p.m. - Barefeet Dance Tribe (audience participation encouraged)
- 5:30 p.m. - Archie Green/Peel Dem Layers Back featuring Cope Kingz
- 6:00 p.m. - Nola Movement (audience participation encouraged)
Archie Green/Peel Dem Layers Back
Archie Green, Founder of Peel Dem Layers Back, has sought his own healing through his pen and beats that have taken him beyond the studio and garnered local and national attention. Green advocates for mental health and has made history as the first rapper to perform at the world-renowned Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio. Green’s most recent album is Cope Dealer. The mission of Peel Dem Layers Back is to culturally educate, empower and equip Black men and boys with the essential tools necessary to live a mentally healthy life through a hip-hop lens.
Barefeet Dance Tribe
Barefeet Dance Tribe is a uniquely combined traditional and modern African dance movement group. Kent State student Rumbidzai Mupinga established the group in 2010 and solely focuses on trying to educate others about different cultures and dance forms other than their own and to have fun while doing it. Barefeet targeted elementary students in the Kent area and has vastly attracted crowds of different ages. It now consists of elementary aged children to college students from around the Kent, Ohio, area, and in doing so Barefeet also promotes education and the social aspect of the continent of Africa.
Mwatabu Okantah & Friends featuring Vince Robinson
A multimedia exploration. Enjoy poet Mwatabu S. Okantah, ’76, chair of the Department of Africana Studies, as he tells the story of self-discovery, healing and transformation rendered in original music and poetry set to music, with keyboard artist Vince Robinson and friends.
Experience top-rated Zumba and dance fitness. Nola Movement is a space for women to ignite and fuel their fire through physical movement, positive mindset practices, and community connection. Through movement events, speaking engagements, and coaching conversations, Nola Movement inspires women to take action in their lives.
Below is a list of vendors and organizations at the event.
- Bella Bijou Custom Designs
- Black United Students
- Brooks Homestyle BBQ LLC food truck
- Daisy Pops
- Ego's Kitchen (African clothing and jewelry)
- Essential Dipped Delights
- Famtastic Hats 'N Things (handmade knitted hats & scarfs; African-print table runners; and African artifacts)
- GlossGirl Brownie
- The Goodness Factory (Sweet treats such as cheesecake salads, cheesecake cups, and mini cakes)
- Grill Masters food truck
- House of B&J Collection
- Jewelry by LeLee (fashion jewelry)
- Junk Jars Co
- O Taste and See LLC
- Oh My Yum (bakery specializing in Southern Desserts, cakes, and cheesecakes)
- Portage County NAACP
- The Rich Auntie Collection
- Saint Rest Publications
- Som di mma elegance (African wear ebony carvings jewelry)
- Trio Educational Opportunity Centers
- The Vegan Baking Pop Up Shop
- Novelist Zariah L. Banks (eParke Press)