Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 that many African-Americans first learned about the Emancipation Proclamation, will be celebrated in June 22 in Oakland.
A ceremony at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, sometimes called "the birthplace of Oakland," will bring together Malcolm Westbrooks, master storyteller; Friends of Negro Spirituals; Afro Haitian Dancers; and a costume parade and group dancing led by the Mexica Dancers Company. City Councilman Noel Gallo will be officiating.
The event kicks off at 2 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting in the newly created creekside amphitheater within the park, located at 2465 34th Ave.
After the ribbon-cutting, a procession will begin along the new recreation trail leading to nearby Peralta Creek, where the outdoor amphitheater is located.
The park improvements represent a convergence of city, regional and state parks. The path and amphitheater were funded by the Recreation Trails program of the state of California. New exhibit signage along the path was paid for by the East Bay Regional Park District and the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, which operates under the auspices of the National Park Service.
Peralta Hacienda has been designated as a site along the Anza Trail, which commemorates the 1776 expedition that brought a diverse group of Spanish-speaking settlers, including the Peraltas, to California.
"Throughout the afternoon, our visitors can move from place to place within the park to hear performances and see the displays," park executive director Holly Alonso said. "We also hope folks will take time to see our current special art installation in one of the rooms, 'What I Hear I Keep: Stories from Oakland's Griots.'"
The artwork features a stunning oversized lighted sculpted horse figure designed by artist Walter Hood.
"Griot is a word from West Africa meaning a storyteller who hands down family and community history from one generation to the next," Alonso said. "Our installation compasses narratives of Oakland African-Americans shining a light on the East Bay's past as they perceive it."
Another new feature is a mosaic mural on a wall near the park's entrance that is a semesterlong project of a group of local students. The colorful mural was created under the direction of California College of the Arts associate professor Virginia Jardim working with her CCA class, alongside a group of middle-school age students from United for Success Academy, whose teacher is Jen Fuller, a CCA alum.
For more on the Juneteenth Celebration and the programs at the Peralta Hacienda Historic Park, including summer camp sessions for children and teens, go to www.peraltahacienda.org, or call 510-532-9142.