Jun 12, 2023 - News

Juneteenth celebrations at Austin's Carver Museum

Dancers performing outdoors, beneath a tent.

Dancers performing at the 2021 Stay Black and Live event. Photo by Tia Boyd via George Washington Carver Museum.

Austin's "Stay Black and Live" festival kicks off Monday as part of the city's Juneteenth celebrations.

The big picture: The festival was launched in 2020 to bring people together during the pandemic — albeit virtually — and to celebrate Black lives in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

  • This year's events, with a theme of Austin Family Reunion, will take place once more at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center at 1165 Angelina St.

Context: ​​Juneteenth memorializes the moment when the last enslaved people in the U.S., in Galveston, were officially informed of their freedom, on June 19, 1865.

  • Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April 1865, but it was not until at least mid-May that Confederate forces in parts of Texas retired their arms.

What they're saying: "We aim to honor the significance of Juneteenth as we foster a deeper understanding of our shared history," Carre Adams, museum director of the Carver, said in a statement.

What's happening: A conversation with Pamela Dawson, a Texas high school music teacher who won a 2023 Grammy for Music Educator of the Year, 6-8pm tonight.

  • Dawson will deliver a talk and lead a singalong focusing on Black contributions to American music.

Plus: Culinary food historian Michael Twitty, author of "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American History in the Old South," will give a lecture on Black foodways and contemporary abolitionist movements 6-8pm Thursday.

  • A community kickback and dance party, with giveaways of glow-sticks, kites, bubble guns and sparklers, headlined by BodyRockATX, 6-9pm Friday.A community cookout and music festival in the Rosewood neighborhood, behind the Carver Museum, 3-9pm Saturday. Hosted by DJs from KAZI and featuring a performance by Austin Samba.
  • A music festival with a performance by the band GAPX, with members of the original Gap Band, 6pm Saturday.

What to watch: On Juneetenth, next Monday, the historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed will deliver a talk about her widely praised book "On Juneteenth," 1-3pm.

  • A memorial to victims of police violence will also be held that day. "Join us in song, prayer, and meditation as we honor our Black ancestors and gather our strength to continue doing the work to liberate our communities," per a press release about the event, which runs 5-8pm.
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