Annual Hayward Freedom Celebration Saturday, June 22, to lead City’s Juneteenth observances

May 14, 2024

Illustrative graphic of Juneteenth

Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, will be observed in Hayward with a downtown event featuring live music along with exhibits and programs at Hayward Public Library during the month of June.
On Saturday, June 22, the West Coast Blues Society and Juneteenth Hayward will present the Fourth Annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, from noon to 6 p.m., at Hayward Heritage Plaza, 835 C Street, with a blues festival, a variety of foods, other vendors, and a beer and wine garden. Kicking off the musical performances will be Leo Oliver and The Blues Knockouts, Hayward's residential Blues Band, followed by special appearance by the Russell City Memorial Blues Band, The West Coast Caravan of All Stars, featuring the legendary Fillmore Slim, all the way from the state of Mississippi, Mississippi Chuck Wallace, R&B crooner Karl Bracy, Michael Skinner singing Southern Soul and R&B, plus Reggie Rolls and other special guests.
Family- and youth-oriented activities and entertainment at the Juneteenth Freedom Celebration will include the Black Cowboy Coalition and Meekah, apparatus and demonstrations presented by the Hayward Fire, Maintenance Services and Police departments, Hayward Public Library bookmobile Curbie, and art and recreation features presented by the Hayward Arts Council Gallery and Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD).

Hayward Public Library will also be marking the occasion with book displays and by decorating both library branches from June 10 through the end of the month. In addition, there will be two very special free programs. On June 13, Unique Derrique, “the Clown of Fools,” will entertain children of all ages with a 45-minute tribute to Juneteenth, including the history of the Hambone body percussion technique, and comedy juggling. This program will be held at the Fremont Bank room in the Downtown library starting at 1 p.m. Then, on Saturday, June 15, the Library will partner with San Francisco Opera to present the program “Black voices in American opera.” SF Opera’s Educational Content Coordinator, Cole, Thomason-Redus, will present an historical and musical exploration of the careers and recordings of pioneers such as Camilla Williams, Simon Estes and Marian Anderson, and mid-century superstars such as Leontyne Price, along with other modern-day masters of American opera. The program will be held in the Fremont Bank Room starting at 11 a.m. Though not required, please register here.

Celebrated annually on June 19, Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day, is an observance of the effective end of slavery in the United States.  On June 19, 1865, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union Army Major Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of both the Civil War and slavery to more than 250,000 enslaved Black people, one of the last group of slaves to be freed in the United States.