MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of enslaved persons in the United States, will be observed in Murfreesboro with three events this year: Authors Night on June 16, Kaleidoscope on June 17, and the Juneteenth celebration on June 18. All three events will take place at Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center and are free to attend.
Vonchelle Stembridge with Murfreesboro Parks and Rec highlighted some of the early history at Bradley Academy… Polk later went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and became the 11th President of the United States of America in 1844.
In addition to Polk attending Bradley Academy, John Bell also went to the Murfreesboro school. Bell eventually became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a candidate for president.
It wasn't until 1884 that Bradley Academy became the first institution in Rutherford County to offer formal education for African American students. At the time, Bradley Academy only had three teachers and a total of 150 students
Local authors will discuss their literary works and sign books from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16 This event supports aspiring African American authors in Rutherford County. Authors participating include Diane Brown, Carmen Maples, Margaret McKinley, Mary Watkins, Darryl Webb, Jayda Freemen, Sparkle “Tanika” Robertson and Michael Dillard. Refreshments and giveaways will be offered.
Kaleidoscope will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, June 17. The event will highlight local vendors, showcasing a diverse group of resources available to the community.
The community is invited to celebrate Juneteenth, or “Freedom Day” on Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include a kids’ zone, food vendors, artists, and live music and dancing.
“We have expanded the celebration on Saturday to three blocks instead of just one this year,” said Vonchelle Stembridge, Facility Coordinator at Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center. “We are excited to create a learning experience to the community to share the importance of this holiday and look forward to our community coming out to celebrate Juneteenth.”
Bradley Academy was built in 1806 as the first school for education of white males only. In 1884, African American students, males and females, were allowed to attend school. The current structure was built in 1917 and opened as the new school for African American students in 1918. Today, Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center is managed by Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department.
Details of Event Dates:
• Authors’ Night – Thursday, June 16, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
• Kaleidoscope – Friday, June 17, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
• Juneteenth Celebration – Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For more information about Juneteenth and Bradley Academy, visit murfreesboroparks.com