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                                               Press Release

Oberlin, OH—The Juneteenth Oberlin Executive Board is ​proud to present this year’s annual Juneteenth Celebration Festival, “Dancing and Celebrating through the Second Line: Releasing Enslaved Spirits to Freedom” on Saturday, June 18th, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  This year our focus is on the Second Line and releasing enslaved spirts to freedom. The celebration will be located at the Underground Railroad Center–Station Square–behind the McDonalds on S. Main St.   The festival will include a parade with the African pride dancers, drumline, praise dancers and other local performers marching from Spring St. Park down Groveland St. to Pleasant St. and ending at the Underground Railroad Center.   There will be games, face painting, raffles, various vendors and food trucks. 


This Juneteenth Celebration will feature a New Orleans Second Line parade. The Second Line will be led by Oberlin College graduate Kevin Lewis from New Orleans that specializes in Second Line music using the traditional Dirge.  We will honor the spirits of Black People, when death was one of the ways our ancestors were free from slavery; Jim Crow laws; lynching; the Reconstruction Era; Black Codes; and segregation. The Second Line parade will be going down Morgan Street to the Westwood Cemetery–singing and dancing-celebrating our ancestors' release to freedom.


Juneteenth—originally June 19th, 1865—is considered the date when the last enslaved people in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread prior to this, actual emancipation did not come in Texas until June 19th, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom. While its roots are in Texas, Juneteenth has become a day to celebrate freedom all over the United States. Oberlin’s history of commitment to abolition and the cause of freedom makes the community uniquely qualified to celebrate Juneteenth.

This year the Maafa prayers will go up for all the souls of the slaves from Louisiana and around Oberlin, Louisiana.  Maafa, also known as the Holocaust of Enslavement, is a national celebration commemorating the pain, suffering, and loss of life of Africans in the Diaspora.  

Immediately following the Maafa there will be the Potter's Field Celebration.  The Potter’s Field Celebration will pay tribute to "Oberlin's Glory", the African American soldiers of the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Regiment.  The known graves of these soldiers at Potter’s Field will be cleaned and will receive a floral wreath.  This is a unique event created by local published historian Margaret Christian dating back over 10 years.  The Maafa and the Potter's Field Celebration will be held at Westwood Cemetery in Oberlin at 6:30 pm - 7:30pm Saturday June 18th, 2022.

We are a community festival and would like to acknowledge the following organizations for their support; City of Oberlin, local churches, Oberlin Public Library, the Oberlin Business Partnership, and Oberlin College Alumni. We are currently looking for volunteers and booth vendors to make this a successful community festival. Booth applications will be available online at and at the Oberlin Library and must be turned in by May 31, 2022, if additional time is needed, please reach out to Chairperson of Oberlin Juneteenth, Valerie Lawson or Adenike Sharpley, Board Member,  at 440-774-4327 or  Booth applications can be sent to P.O. 604 Oberlin, OH 44074. 


Come join the fun, learning, good food, and  Second Line on Saturday June 18, 2022 from 9am – 6pm located at the Underground Railroad Center.  

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