As soon as I turned the corner from Center Street onto Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, I was instantly able to take in the festive atmosphere from Milwaukee’s 2008 Juneteenth celebration. For those that may not know, Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. The atmosphere today reminds me of just about every festival of its kind. Music fills the air from the radio stations and the live musicians playing along the sidewalk. Yet another indication of a Milwaukee summer festival was the smell of all kinds of food being cooked and served all along MLK Drive.
The Juneteenth celebration takes place on MLK Drive from Center Street all the way north to Burleigh. On both sides of the street are booths and venders of all types. Some are selling CD’s and music, while others are selling African style clothes, jewelry and t-shirts with a message. I also found many booths from various organizations and public officials. Below I have listed just some of the organizations that had a booth or some kind of presence at Juneteenth this year:
Service Employees International Union (more details to follow), MATC, UWM, Peace Action Wisconsin, The Milwaukee Fire Department (with a mobile ‘safety house for kids’), Several Milwaukee Churches, WMCS 1290, V100 Radio, Various Public Officials, and a City of Milwaukee Mobile Health Unit