Madison’s Juneteenth Day
Celebration in Olin-Turville Park
150 Years of Freedom
|Annie Weatherby-Flowers, along with Mona Adams
Winston, founded Madison’s Juneteenth Day celebration
in the early 1990s. This is the first time it will be held in
How do we do that? We do that through education, through sharing our talents, skills and food.” The actual 150th anniversary of Juneteenth will
be observed on June 19th with a Praise Celebration at Fountain of Life Church from 7-9 p.m. That celebration will feature Little Rock singer-
songwriter Marquis Hunt.
“Marquis Hunt who has travelled the country playing for communities who have been struggling with adversity,” Weatherby-Flowers said. “He
has played with Bishop T,D, Jakes, Fred Hammonds, Yolanda Adams and now he is doing gospel-jazz fusion. I’m excited to have him come and
be a part of Juneteenth.”
On Saturday, things will kick off with the traditional Juneteenth Day parade that will start on Expo Drive near the Alliant Energy Center’s Willow
Island, make its way down Olin Avenue, cross over John Nolen Drive and proceed through Olin-Turville Park to the main shelter.
“Anyone can participate in the parade,” Weatherby-Flowers said. “We’re asking community-based organizations, churches, local businesses to
send mascots and staff with t-shirts and logos.”
The official Juneteenth Day celebration will kick-off on the Main Stage with elders of the African American community greet people in English
and then members of Madison’s African community will repeat the greeting in several African languages. The kick-off will also include the
Collective Work featuring Young Gifted & Black Coalition looking at figures in African American history.
Over the course of the afternoon, the Main Stage will feature entertainment.
“We’re having the Milwaukee School of Arts Gospel Choir,” Weatherby-Flowers said. “It’s a way for young people to see a big city-wide choir of
African American children. Then we are going to have I’m also looking forward to hearing our local talent. Rob Dz, the Juneteenth Day Band,
Hanah Jon Taylor and other folks from our community will be performing. We have rap artists and a teen area so that our young people can
showcase and be educated about their history and use their talents to express themselves. It’s like Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud. Black
Lives Matter is like Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.’
Speaking of being proud, the Heritage area located in the Olin shelter will feature African-based soul food as well as the music of Mtrane Plus
and the Afro-Peruvian dance of MOSAIC.
“This year, we’re going to focus on traditional soul food, which is black-eyed peas, collard and various greens, ribs, okra and sweet potatoes,”
Fountain of Life Church and Women in Focus will be managing the Children’s Tent to promote reading and educational games. And it will be
located right next to the playground so the children can play the afternoon away.
And there is lots more.
“We have our Old School tent that will be spinning Motown and blues,” Weatherby-Flowers said. “Mr. Stanford is back with all of their good
food. We have J.D.’s and some newer vendors. We’re going to have popcorn, watermelon, fried chicken, catfish and more that our vendors will
be selling. We want to promote economic development and health and wellness. UW-Madison School of Nursing will be here. Haywood
Simmons will be doing exercise and meditation. There is something for everyone at Juneteenth. I want everyone who comes to leave having
learned something new about the African American experience.”
Parking in Olin-Turville Park is limited. People are encouraged to take the bus or ride their bikes to the event. People can also park near Family
Service on Olin Avenue and walk along Wingra Creek to the park. And the elderly and people with disabilities can take advantage of the golf
cart ride service to get around the park.
While the African American community has faced much adversity, it has also had its triumphs.
Weatherby-Flowers doesn’t want people to lose sight of that.
“There is so much to look back on and be thankful for,” she said. There is so much to stand upon and there are so many footsteps to walk in
that we can do whatever we put our hearts and minds to because people have paved the way. I want people to understand the significance of
our contributions. Often, media doesn’t exhibit that. I really want the young people to have a sense of who they are.
African American history is not something they learn in the schools. So we want to share it with them on Juneteenth.
And there is much to share.
By Jonathan Gramling
It was on June 19, 1865 that the last of the Africans who were slaves learned
that they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation some 18 months
earlier. These slaves were in Galveston, Texas and they broke out into a
spontaneous celebration when they heard the news. And ever since, on June
19th, a Juneteenth Day Celebration has been held first in Galveston and
eventually in many cities and communities across the United States.
Madison’s own Juneteenth Day celebration got its start in the early 1990s by co-
founders Mona Adams Winston and Annie Weatherby-Flowers who used
Juneteenth as a day to celebrate, but also as a moment to educate all
Madisonians about African American history. That mission still weighs on
Weatherby-Flowers’ mind today.
“I really want to empower our young people to know that the happenings of the
past few years is not all that has happened to African Americans in the history of
America,” Weatherby-Flowers said. “Despite this adversity, we have written,
sung, danced, invented, created and made our way through some of the hardest
situations for 150 years. I want people to understand that in order to know where
you are going, you need to know where you come from and where you’ve been.
My goal, as always, is to empower the Madison African American community to a
more effective part of the total community.