Home Local News Celebrate Juneteenth at The Annual Music City Freedom Festival in Hadley Park

Celebrate Juneteenth at The Annual Music City Freedom Festival in Hadley Park

by Cass Teague
Mary Kimble Adams enjoys performances at a recent Juneteenth Freedom Festival.

Nashville’s Juneteenth Celebration / The Annual Music City Freedom Festival is a free community event Saturday, June 15th & Sunday, June 16th, 2024, in Historic Hadley Park. Come out and join in the festivities each day from 12 Noon to 8pm. It will be full of family friendly fun for all. There will be local food trucks, local vendors to shop from, and even inflatables for the children.

They will have local live bands performing, and a local live DJ mixing it up. So, bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the show, food, and the shopping. The Music City Freedom Festival, a Juneteenth Celebration celebrates our culture, our community, our music, our food, and our community’s businesses.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

This Free community event was created to celebrate our businesses, organizations, and artists throughout Nashville. The goal is to continue to provide an annual city-wide event that celebrates the emancipation of the enslaved African in America, as well as celebrating our culture, our community, our music, our food, and our community’s businesses and organizations.

The last four festivals were amazing. They have had hundreds of small businesses and food vendors throughout the years. They have also showcased some of Nashville’s most talented music and dance acts. With coverage about the Festival from various news, radio, digital, and social media platforms, they had an outreach of over a million Nashville residents.

Editor’s Note: Mary Elizabeth Doss Kimble Adams, pictured with this article, passed away this year at 89 years old. The Pearl High graduate received her college education from Treveca University. Her son Lodovic Kimble is lifetime best friends with PRIDE contributors William Robinson and Cass Teague.

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