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African Americans in YS

The 2024 Yellow Springs Juneteenth celebration will take place on Saturday, June 15, and will be held throughout the village. Shown here are drummers holding the beat at the 2021 Juneteenth gathering. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

2024 Yellow Springs Juneteenth activities set for Saturday

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The 2024 Yellow Springs Juneteenth observance will take place Saturday, June 15, beginning with an historical walk from the front of Antioch College’s Olive Kettering Library, on grounds once part of an enclave of Black property owners who began settling in that area in the late 19th century.

Walkers should gather at 10:15 a.m., and the walk will leave at 10:30 a.m., proceeding past several other landmarks significant to Yellow Springs African American history, and conclude in front of Mills Lawn Elementary School.

The day’s program will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the Walnut Street side of Mills Lawn, and will include performances by the World House Choir, Tronee Threat, Misty Gill, Dr. Queen Zabriskie and Mercy Viola; remarks on African history by Gyamfi Gyamerah; “What is Juneteenth?” by Dr. Kevin McGruder; and “Slave Narrative” readings by David Perry and Dr. Christopher Cox.

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The program will be followed by a Juneteenth meal prepared by local chef Locksley Orr and available at a nominal cost. DJ Basim will provide music during and after the lunch, which will be followed by a 2 p.m. free screening at the Little Art Theater of the 2004 film “Ray.”

Individual donations can be made online at by selecting “Donation” and then the Juneteenth button. Checks should be made payable to The 365 Project, the fiscal agent for the YS Juneteenth Planning Committee, with “Juneteenth” in the memo, and mailed to The 365 Project, P.O. Box 165, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. For organizational sponsor information, email

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed the enslaved people there that the Civil War had ended over two months earlier, with the surrender of the Confederate Army on April 9, and they were free. Rather than dwell on the complicity of locals who had withheld this information, the newly freed Black residents organized celebrations with music and food as central elements. This practice became a tradition in many parts of the nation as Black people moved from the South, and was revived during the Civil Rights and Black Power eras of the 1960s and 1970s.

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