Freedom Center announces inaugural Juneteenth Jubilee

Press Release
April 19, 2024

Freedom Center announces inaugural Juneteenth Jubilee

Orlando Brown, Jr., joins event featuring live music, food trucks, community vendors and free museum admission June 19

CINCINNATI – Each year since 1865, African American communities across the country have gathered on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. This year, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is inviting the community to celebrate together during its inaugural Juneteenth Jubilee. The free daylong festival will celebrate true independence with live music, programming, community vendors and food trucks for a jubilant takeover of Freedom Way on June 19. Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Jr., will be the event’s featured guest, delivering a motivational speech followed by a photo and autograph session.

“Juneteenth is a day of jubilation – for the millions of enslaved people who were finally free and for their ancestors and their brothers and sisters of every color who moved one step closer to the promise of freedom this nation was founded on,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “We’re inviting the community to join us for this tribute to liberation and celebration of joy.”

The Freedom Center’s 2024 Juneteenth Jubilee will be reminiscent of the joy and community that were the hallmarks of the earliest Juneteenth celebrations, bringing people together around music, food and community. The event will feature a stage on the Freedom Center plaza, with live music and performances from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Minority- and woman-owned food trucks will bookend Freedom Way, serving barbecue, Tex Mex, classic cookout favorites and more. And a Community Market featuring local small businesses will give guests an opportunity to shop and support local.

Vendor applications for the Community Market are now open.

The Freedom Center’s Juneteenth Jubilee will culminate in a march down the banks to the Ohio River, the symbolic River Jordan over which thousands of enslaved people crossed into freedom on the Underground Railroad.

“June 19, 1865, was a pivotal day in our nation’s history, but for African Americans in this country, it was still just the first step in a long, winding road to freedom,” added Keown, Jr. “The journey to freedom continues for so many, so it’s important that we remember how many people are still waiting for their Juneteenth. June 19 must be a day that we recommit ourselves to the pursuit of inclusive freedom.”

Among the themes of the day’s programming will be raising awareness about health equity, economic empowerment and voter education and engagement, all ongoing advocacy efforts the Freedom Center is focused on.

Orlando Brown, Jr., is a Super Bowl champion on the field and a champion in raising awareness off the field. He is involved efforts to raise awareness and funds to support type 1 diabetes research in honor of those impacted, including his late father, his younger brother and friends Mark Andrews and Noah Gray, both NFL players.

Admission to the Freedom Center will also be free on Juneteenth, with drop-in programming and mini tours available for guests of all ages.

History of Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved people of the nation were now free. The date, now celebrated as Juneteenth, came more than two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and nearly 250 years after the first enslaved Africans were brought to the Americas. In 2021, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday.


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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