June 19 marks a critical moment in American history. More than two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Texas became the final state to acknowledge the abolition of slavery and the end of the Civil War. In following decades, the date was mainly observed by African Americans to celebrate the end of slavery. But after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the holiday — named Juneteenth — gained more prominence in the Civil Rights Movement and entered public consciousness.
As nationwide protests have illuminated a history of systemic racism and the ongoing fight for equality — especially within the Black community — the symbolism of the day is more crucial than ever. The City of Kansas City, MO voted to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for city employees only weeks ago. And this week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill to make it a federal holiday.
90.9 The Bridge devotes this Saturday, June 19 to Juneteenth, playing the groundbreaking songs of justice, peace, struggle and celebration by Black artists. We'll reach back to icons like Nina Simone and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, into the innovators of today — such as Janelle Monáe, Jon Batiste and Angélique Kidjo — and local artists with powerful voices and platforms, including Cuee, Kemet Coleman and Hi-Lux. We hope this will be a source of entertainment and music discovery, as well as a moment for all of us to listen, learn, reflect and engage our own communities.
Tune in on air, stream us online, via our App or your smart speaker by saying “Play The Bridge from IHeartRadio.”