Remember Juneteenth with programs that leave you hungering for more

Published on June 03, 2021

The City of Fort Worth Diversity & Inclusion Employee Committee is hosting two programs on Thursday, June 17, as a way to honor the spirit of the Juneteenth holiday and a call to action to support local African American-owned restaurants.

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the triumph of the human spirit over slavery. It honors those formerly enslaved African Americans who survived the inhumane institution of chattel slavery and celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.

“The importance of continuing to acknowledge and appreciate our collective history and its impact on our present is critical to healing and progress. The D&I Committee’s work does both,” said Christina Brooks, chief equity officer and director of the city’s Diversity & Inclusion Department. “We are providing our community an opportunity to learn about the valuable contributions of African American chefs, caterers and restaurant owners of the past and stimulate our local economy by having a meal or two or three at some of the best local African American-owned eateries today. The best way to honor our past is to make sure our economic future is just and equitable.”

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An employee-planned Juneteenth Celebration is a longstanding tradition at the city, which continues this year under the auspices of the city’s Diversity & Inclusion Department.

Cannon Henry, a Diversity & Inclusion Employee Committee member and lead for the Juneteenth program work group, said celebration and education go hand in hand, and this year’s program reflects that.

“Our committees have done a great deal of planning for this year’s event and we hope that our educational program will bring out a record number of attendees,” he said. “The restaurant aspect is very exciting since it’s something all people can relate to.”

Schedule of events

  • Black Restaurants that Fed the Civil Rights Movement: A historical presentation and discussion. Learn how restaurants in the South, such as Dooky Chase’s in New Orleans, The Four Way in Memphis and others, became high-profile focal points for the Civil Rights movement through this informative presentation. The program will also include a talk with self-described black culture curator Deah Berry Mitchell, who will share her insight into the influence that West African cuisine and slavery had on “soul food” and the local black-owned restaurant scene. Register for the program, which be held at noon, Thursday, June 17, via Webex. The Webex platform can be accessed via computer or a smartphone app.
  • The Green Book: Guide to Freedom film screening and discussion. This documentary (not rated, 2019, 51 minutes) explores some of the segregated nation’s safe havens and notorious “sundown towns” through witness stories of struggle and indignity as well as opportunity and triumph. The film chronicles how in the 1930s a black postal carrier from Harlem named Victor Green published a book that was part travel guide and part survival guide. It was called The Negro Motorist Green Book, and it helped African Americans navigate safe passage across the U.S. well into the 1960s. View a trailer. Admission is free for this in-person program, but registration is required. 

Call to action: Support Fort Worth Black/African American-owned businesses

Fort Worth, Texas Magazine has compiled a list that showcases some of the area’s most well-known black-owned restaurants. This list covers a variety of different cuisines, including barbecue, coffee and baked goods, Jamaican and African restaurants, and more traditional Southern fare — so there are plenty of options to choose from, including many establishments located within the Fort Worth city limits.

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For more information about the city’s employee diversity and inclusion efforts or to get involved with planning future diversity programs, email the Diversity & Inclusion Department.

Community events

In addition to the city programs, there are several community events and activities planned to celebrate Juneteenth:

  • 8:30 a.m. Freedom Ain’t Free Walk: Begins at the corner of Horne and Blackmore streets; walkers should meet in the Zion Missionary Baptist Church parking lot, 4100 Horne St.
  • 9:15 a.m. Storytelling Time: History of Juneteenth and Lake Como.
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Vendor Fair.
  • 4 p.m. Home/Yard Decorating Contest: sign up by June 13.  Judging takes place at 4 p.m.

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