Riverhead celebrates the weekend of June 16 this year with events hosted by community organizations and the Suffolk Theatre.
Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and National Independence Day — is the celebration of the day on June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger delivered the proclamation of freedom for enslaved people in Texas, the last state with institutions Slavery after the end of the Civil War. The celebration dates back to the year after in 1866 in Texas.
In 2020, a law signed by the then-government added June 16 to New York’s list of public holidays. Andrew Cuomo. Last year, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making June 19 a federal holiday.
The Riverhead Town Anti-Bias Task Force and the East End Voter Coalition, in partnership with the Riverhead Free Library, are hosting a June 16 Celebration at the library on Saturday from 1:00-2:30 p.m.
The event will honor and celebrate June 16th with music, refreshments and entertainment. At the event, Vanessa Williams, Principal of Manetuck Elementary School in West Islip and former Associate Principal of Aquebogue Elementary School, will speak. First Baptist Church liturgical dancers and the Butterfly Effect Project are listed as planned performers.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration for the event is available on the Riverhead Free Library website.
The Suffolk Theater is hosting two events this weekend to celebrate black music in honor of June 16th.
The theater is showing Retrospective of the Heroes of Black Music on Friday at 8 p.m. Compiled by Joe Lauro of the Historic Films Archive, the film contains “electrifying and rare footage” of performances by iconic black musicians, including never-before-seen footage from Jimi Hendrix, Sly & The Family Stone, Prince, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, BB King, Muddy Waters, Michael Jackson, according to the Suffolk Theater website.
Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased on the Suffolk Theater website.
The theater will also present “A Night of Soul: Honoring Juneteenth,” starring Grammy-nominated singer Brian Owens, on Sunday at 7 p.m. The show is a “journey through the soul of America” featuring music by prominent black musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cooke and Dobie Gray.
Tickets range from $49 to $59 and can be purchased from the Suffolk Theater website.
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