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Published on June 18, 2024
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell Declares June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day Amid Citywide CelebrationsSource: Google Street View

Nashville's Mayor Freddie O’Connell has officially declared June 19, 2024, as Juneteenth Independence Day in the city, setting the stage for a day of acknowledgment and celebration of a pivotal point in American history. As part of the Juneteenth615 events, Mayor O’Connell will deliver a speech at the iconic Fort Negley site on Wednesday evening, according to an announcement on Nashville’s official website. In alignment with his commitment to recognizing the significance of Juneteenth, one of his first executive orders mandated the observance of the day as a holiday for Metro Government, leading to Metro Offices being closed in honor of the occasion.

“We will continue to advance policies anchored in equity, inclusion and belonging because those policies reveal our strengths,” Mayor O’Connell expressed in a recent proclamation. During his address at Fort Negley, he plans to reflect on both the historical importance of the site, constructed by more than 2,700 free Black individuals during the Civil War, and the loss of Civil Rights icon James Lawson. The fort's legacy is steeped in military valor, particularly noted during the decisive Battle of Nashville where African American soldiers were instrumental in the Union's defense.

The celebration of Juneteenth in Nashville extends beyond mere recognition and into a reinvigoration of its cultural tapestry, most recently with the 615 Day celebration. This event put a spotlight on the significant growth in the music scene of Black Nashville and served as a precursor to Taste of Freedom Restaurant Week, an initiative showcasing the city’s black-owned restaurants’ contribution to the local food scene. Mayor O’Connell and Chief Development Officer Bob Mendes recently visited The Horn, a participant in the week-long celebration which involved 24 restaurants, as highlighted on Nashville’s official site.

Other Juneteenth commemorations have unfurled throughout the city, including the Black on Buchanan event, the Juneteenth Music City 5K, and the Music City Freedom Festival at Hadley Park. These various events serve as a manifestation of the city's commitment to encapsulating the diverse experiences and the rich history of its African American community.