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Three Female Black-Owned Organizations Join Forces to Celebrate Juneteenth Through Artistic Expression, Block Party, Education, and Ancestral Reverence

This week, Washington of Book Black Women, Inc. and Cerina Johnson of No Longer Bound Entertainment, LLC will host their three-part Juneteenth Celebration, powered by Circa 1865, Inc., owned by Spring Lake’s mayor, Kia Anthony.

The three-day festivities celebrate freedom and are a tribute to African Americans’ persistence and triumph in establishing themselves after 1865’s emancipation.

People often misunderstand Juneteenth, the celebrated day of the end of slavery in the U.S., as a simple story of emancipation. On this day in 1865, the U.S. Army declared 250,000 slaves in Texas free. This marked a significant milestone in the fight for freedom and equality for African Americans. In 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth a state holiday, followed by other states and organizations hosting events and educational opportunities in remembrance.

Juneteenth Monument in Texas; Photo Credit:!

In 2021, it became a national holiday for United States President Joe Biden in the aftermath of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which ignited social justice.

The festivities, which are becoming increasingly mainstream in the United States, celebrate the day since it became a recognizable holiday. The event features a variety of activities like parades, which symbolize unity and pride; picnics, which represent freedom and leisure; musical performances, which honor African American culture and history; historical reenactments, which educate about the past; and educational events, which empower and inform the community.

For instance, No Longer Bound and Book Black Women give the audience the full black experience. The goal is to leave the community, especially African Americans, empowered and well-informed about Juneteenth. The three-day festivities will also use culturally influenced art forms that entertainingly reflect the black experience, providing a rich educational experience.


 On June 19th, 400 Years: The Evolution of Black America will reprise last year’s original stage productions at Fayetteville State University’s Seabrook Auditorium. Johnson and Washington’s production, with the active participation of the audience, will incorporate various art forms to give a glimpse of the past, acknowledge the present, and foster future growth among African Americans.

Last year’s 400 Years: Past, Present, and Future Production

“This year’s production features a new cast, bringing that authenticity to the story-telling experience as well as a discussion forum afterwards,” says Johnson.

El’Jae Bowen from Poetry-N-Motion and Isaiah Ellsberry from Poetic Zae will perform poetry, and Avis Hatcher-Puzzo, a dance professor at Fayetteville State University, is the event choreographer.

VIP ticket holders will have access to the exclusive Black Art Gallery preshow, which showcases the rich history and culture of African Americans, preferred parking for convenience, and refreshments to keep them energized throughout the event.

The festivities continue over the weekend, with a Juneteenth Freedom Block Party on Maxwell Street in downtown Fayetteville on June 22nd and a Heritage Brunch at Carver’s Creek State Park in Spring Lake on June 23rd.

Saturday’s Freedom Block Party, a cornerstone of the celebration, supports black businesses by providing a unique chance for the community to sample black-owned food trucks and shop at local black-owned companies. The event also offers robust Black History education, games, dancing, and music, creating an unforgettable cultural experience that celebrates the resilience and contributions of Black ancestors.

L-R: Cerina Johnson of No Longer Bound Entertainment, LLC; Ayana Washington of Book Black Women, Inc; and Mayor Kia Anthony of Circa 1865, Inc.

Mayor Anthony, a strong supporter of Juneteenth, emphasized the event’s cultural significance, saying, ‘With Fayetteville having the highest concentration of black businesses per capita in the United States, it’s only fitting that we have one of the biggest celebrations that showcases black diversity, black excellence, and black contributions to America,” she shared.

Mayor Anthony, a strong supporter of Juneteenth, emphasized the event’s cultural significance, saying, ‘With Fayetteville having the highest concentration of black businesses per capita in the United States, it’s only fitting that we have one of the biggest celebrations that showcases black diversity, black excellence, and black contributions to America,” she shared.

The Juneteenth celebration will conclude with a Juneteenth Heritage Brunch. Carver’s Creek State Park in Spring Lake, which houses the tombs of enslaved African Americans, provides a poignant setting for this event. The brunch, a symbolic gesture of breaking bread, allows descendants and allies to commemorate the uncharted possibilities of the future. The event will feature entertainment and ancestral veneration, further emphasizing the importance of honoring our past and looking towards a brighter future.


Mayor Anthony shared her excitement about working with Washington and Johnson to make this happen. “I was really impressed with what they had already accomplished, as well as seeing the work they did with the 400-year production the previous year,” Anthony stated.

Anthony has been promoting herself through her organization since Juneteenth, hosting community events for 5–6 years. 1863 Circa Inc. promotes solidarity across the African American diaspora, a love of black culture, and respect for legacy through African American-centered entertainment and education.

Emancipation of 1865 Statue; Photo Credit: Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

When asked what it personally means for the holiday to become increasingly recognized nationwide, Mayor Anthony said she feels like a proud mother. Anthony told the E.P. that advocating the holiday on a grassroots level and seeing it finally come to completion, where it is becoming visible in the community and across the country to become a holiday, meant a lot to her.


Together, these powerhouse organizations are recreating the experience of enslavement and African Americans’ transition to freedom.

“It’s all about understanding the freedom of African American slaves from a story-telling standpoint,” Johnson stated, emphasizing the importance of the audience learning what it means for them to collaborate to share the significance of the holiday.

2019 Juneteenth Parade; Getty Images

The events will be a monument to the tenacity and resiliency of those in the vanguard, as carried by our black enslaved ancestors who persevered to freedom. The indomitable spirit held by the black ancestors through difficulties and tribulations inspired those who followed them to make significant contributions to society that pave the way for the future.

By their community contributions, these groups inspire us to become informed, empowered, and entertained in addition to reminding us of the momentous celebration of Black Americans’ independence during that time.

Please click on the highlighted link to purchase tickets for the ticketed events and to find out more details.

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