Knoxville/ Community & Society
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Published on June 12, 2024
Knoxville Announces City Office Closures and Commemorative Events for Juneteenth Federal HolidaySource: Google Street View

Juneteenth, now recognized as a federal holiday, will see the City of Knoxville shutting down its offices on June 19, 2024, to honor and reflect upon this important milestone in American history – the day that marks the end of slavery in the United States. As announced by the City of Knoxville, despite office closures, essential services will continue as normal; this includes trash and recycling pickup, operating on their regular schedule, with recycling centers also open and ready to accept donations, and Goodwill attendance in place to help with donations.

Residents planning to utilize city facilities should note that while many doors will be closed, outdoor pools at Inskip and Ed Cothren are set to welcome swimmers from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and detailed pool information can be found on the city’s website. For those looking to beat the summer heat, the Solid Waste Facility on Elm Street is closed for the day but will resume operations the following day. Knoxville Area Transit, however, will run on a limited Sunday schedule; no trolleys will be in service, and the customer service counter at Knoxville Station remains closed, all going back to normal the next day.

The city, not just in a gesture of closure, actively participates in the day's commemorations; Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon, along with City Council members and staff, will join the fray at the MLK Jr. Parade/March and Juneteenth Celebration, which is spearheaded by Knoxville's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission. Adding to the festivities, the city’s Summer in the City interns and the Office of Community Safety and Empowerment will present a display featuring significant figures of national and local black history during the parade, which starts at Chilhowee Park Midway and concludes at Dr. Walter Hardy Park with a host of activities running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ahead of the official holiday, several community events are in the line-up, including "Juneteenth Celebration: Taste and See the History," which not only invites participants on a historical walk through Knoxville’s Black history, led by Cherokee Health Services’ Dr. Eboni Winford, but also engages the senses with soul food tastings and a rhythmic interlude provided by Drums Up, Guns Down. Young and old alike can find engaging activities tailored to them; preschoolers can attend "Little History Lessons: Juneteenth" at the East Tennessee History Center, and later in the week, Beck Cultural Exchange Center ushers in a day of commemoration filled with art workshops, oral histories, and a soul food taste test, these details as per the City of Knoxville's official announcement.

Juneteenth is not only a day off but a tangible reflection of the city's recognition of its historical roots and current diversity, providing residents the means to acknowledge, engage, and celebrate Black history and heritage—solidifying the community's shared understanding that while progress has been made, the pursuit of equity continues to be at the forefront of national discourse and local action.