It’s time to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States with Juneteenth celebrations and community service projects that start Friday and continue through Monday in Pittsburgh and beyond.
Concerns arose last week as to whether the city’s events would go on. William “B” Marshall, owner of B Marshall Productions and leader of Stop the Violence-Pittsburgh, protested when officials from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which operates Point State Park, informed him that he would need to provide a security team to check bags before the event. He did not anticipate that, according to media reports and Facebook posts, and he ended up canceling the fireworks on Monday that would have closed out the celebration.
Last Friday Mayor Ed Gainey announced a commitment from the city of a $125,000 grant to help support the annual Juneteenth celebration and financially support the holiday to the same level as the July Fourth festivities. He also said in a news release that the city was never going to cancel any Juneteenth events, and city police will patrol the areas.
Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration Downtown
Pittsburgh will celebrate the Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration Friday through Monday Downtown in Point State Park and Market Square.
This free family friendly event is a celebration of all cities and boroughs in Allegheny County and will feature African American Culture education, speakers, live music and local vendors, according to the Visit Pittsburgh website.
2023 Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration Schedule in Point State Park:
Hurricane Chris, 5 p.m.
KRS-ONE, 8 p.m.
The Jazz Ambassadors of The U.S. Army Field Band, 2 p.m.
SAMMIE, 5 p.m.
KeKe Wyatt, 6:30 p.m.
Carl Thomas & Band, 8 p.m.
Sammie Deleon Afro-Cuban Band, 3 p.m.
Soul 4 Real, 6:30 p.m.
Erica Campbell, 8 p.m.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, 3 p.m.
Phyllis Hyman Tribute Band, 5 p.m.
RUFF ENDZ, 6:30 p.m.
The Ohio Players, 8 p.m.
2023 Juneteenth In-The-Square | Market Square
The celebration continues in Market Square with daily live concerts starting at 1 p.m. See local jazz, soul and R&B favorites, including the House of Soul Band, Kevin Howard Quartet and Bill Henry Band.
Returning for 2023, the Juneteenth Freedom Festival will welcome dozens of minority-owned small businesses, artisans and other vendors at a Juneteenth Minority Vendor Plaza along Liberty and Penn Avenues, just outside Point State Park.
Juneteenth-Voting Rights Parade
At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Grand Jubilee Juneteenth Parade will make its way through Downtown Pittsburgh, followed by a voting rights forum at 1 p.m. The parade starts at Freedom Corner on Centre Avenue, moves down Fifth Avenue to Liberty Avenue and ends at Point State Park. The parade is a reenactment of the 1870 Jubilee of Freemen Parade and Pittsburgh’s 1914 Women’s Suffrage Parade.
Duquesne Light volunteers in Wilkinsburg Friday
Duquesne Light Co. will hold a volunteer event Friday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. to help clean up and beautify the Wilkinsburg area ahead of the federal Juneteenth. The event is being organized by DLC’s BRIDGE BERG in partnership with Grounded Strategies, a nonprofit that works to improve the health of communities by revitalizing vacant land — an issue that disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color, according to a news release. Volunteers from DLC will help complete general site maintenance at the Grace and Fruit Pollinator Garden and Orchard, 1324 E. Swissvale Ave., including weeding, moving soil and planting flowers.
DLC and BRIDGE have made it an annual tradition to honor Juneteenth to help make a positive impact in the community and promote inclusivity and equity, company officials said in a news release. Last year, the company partnered with Grounded Strategies on a cleanup project in the Hill District and also took part in other events to recognize the holiday, including an employee celebration at one of DLC’s service centers on the North Side.
Hazelwood Juneteenth concert Friday
In tribute to Black contributions to music and other creative arts, the Center of Life is starting a new tradition for Hazelwood, the “Black History: Closer Than You Think — Juneteenth Celebration.” The free outdoor concert on Friday will feature the two music programs from Center of Life: COL Jazz and The KRUNK Movement (hip-hop), composed of middle school and high school students and Center of Life’s professional staff musicians. They will be playing jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop, including both classics and original music, from 5-8 p.m. on the lawn in the shadow of the former LTV Steel mill, now the redeveloped high-tech campus Hazelwood Green, at 4501 Lytle St. Visitors can bring blankets, lawn chairs and games. There will be Jamaican food from Hazelwood’s own Negril Curbside, kids activities and games — footballs, frisbees, etc. — and plenty of friends and neighbors.