Join the Juneteenth celebration in Calhoun County on June 14 and 15. 

Juneteenth is an annual holiday, celebrating the official end of slavery – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was decreed Union soldiers liberated the last enslaved people in Texas on June 19. 

Battle Creek is celebrating with two events. First, there’s a family friendly Disney movie at Washington Heights United Methodist Church (153 N. Wood St., Battle Creek). “Wish” begins playing at dusk on Friday. 

On Saturday, go to Claude Evans Park (300 N. Washington Ave., Battle Creek) between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for the big party. There will be food, basketball, kids activities, a splash pad and live music by One Love, Jaz Bolar and Allie Garland. 

In Albion, the celebration is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Holland Park (100 N. Albion St., Albion). There will be lots of activities and stick around for Gospel Fest, from 5 to 7 p.m. 

If you want to learn more about Black history in the area, there are plaques at Holland Park. 

Battle Creek has the largest statue dedicated to the Underground Railroad. The monument depicts African Americans on their way to Canada to be free. The Underground Railroad wasn’t an actual railroad – it was a series of hiding spots that African Americans could follow to escape slavery.  

At the front of the statue are stationmaster Erastus Hussey and Harriet Tubman (she was never in Battle Creek, but you can’t talk about the Underground Railroad and not include Tubman, who was a guide for those following the trail). 

Another important figure at that time was Sojourner Truth, who escaped slavery and used her powerful gift for oratory to argue for abolition and women’s rights. Truth decided to live in Battle Creek and she is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. There is a 14-foot-tall statue of her in Monument Park