Springfield Juneteenth celebration expands with new activities

Events commemorating end of slavery will occur over nine days locally.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Juneteenth officially will be celebrated nationally on June 19. In Springfield, the event commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans is being spread over nine days this month.

Expect a range of events for everyone with the Gammon House, located at 620 Piqua Place, Springfield’s historic preserved stop on the Underground Railroad, as a focal point along with other locations around town beginning Tuesday through June 21.

While local organizers chose to add more events to the established Juneteenth and FatherFest one-day celebration the past two years, the addition of more partners and Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday emboldened them to add even more in 2023.

“We’re proud to be in a position to expand on what we’ve had previously,” said Dale Henry, Gammon House president and longtime local Juneteenth co-organizer. “We’ll have an outstanding variety of events with so much to do.”

Planning committee co-chairs this year are Gail Grant and William Miller.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Events will include:

-5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, at the Gammon House. The 20-minute documentary “The Lincoln School Marchers” will be presented by Ohio Humanities. The event is free.

-3 p.m. Thursday, June 8, National Endowment for the Humanities visit to the Gammon House. This event is free.

-8 a.m. Saturday, June 10, George and Sarah Gammon 5K Run/Walk for Freedom at the Gammon House. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the entry fee is $35. Several age categories will be available, and awards will be given to top finishers.

-6 p.m. June 15, Southern Gateway Neighborhood Association Town Hall Meeting at the Gammon House greens. The public is invited to attend a conversation about the south side of Springfield with city manager Bryan Heck, city commissioner Rob Rue and Ron Gordon of Springfield City Schools. Topics will include safety, housing, cleanliness, urban blight, public education and youth activities.

“It’s a chance to provide input and express concerns,” Henry said.

-9 a.m. June 16, second annual Prayer Breakfast at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 34 W. Pleasant St. Admission is free and everyone is invited. Keynote speaker will be Glenn T. Walter and breakfast will be served.

“This is an opportunity to spotlight the need for prayer,” said Henry. “People on the Underground Railroad needed prayer, and we need to continue to hold prayer in a high context, and we want to make that a part of Juneteenth.”

-11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 17, Juneteenth and FatherFest Celebration at the Gammon House and surrounding area. This free event will have tours of the Gammon House, rides, a variety of food and merchandise vendors, information tables and live entertainment. FatherFest will include the annual Good Dad Award led by Rev. Eli Williams and Urban Light Ministries.

-7 p.m. June 19, St. John Missionary Baptist Church Tour/Scavenger Hunt at the Gammon House. Admission is free.

-2 and 3:30 p.m. June 20, Local Notable African-Americans Tour at Ferncliff Cemetery, 501 W. McCreight Ave. This free event will take visitors on a tour to learn more about those interred there and their place in local history. Space may be limited.

-2:30-6:30 p.m., June 21, Black History Community Scanning Project at the Clark County Public Library, 201 S. Fountain Ave. This collaboration of the Clark County Historical Society, Ohio History Service Corps, Hartman Rock Garden and the Clark County Public Library will invite local Black families to bring in family photos, keepsakes, memorabilia and stories for preservation. The event is free.

“We’re looking forward to tremendous participation and a lot of visitors to our Juneteenth events and hope we can build on it going forward,” said Henry.

For more information on these activities or to sign up for the 5K run/walk, go to www.facebook.com/GammonHouseoh/.

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