This weekend, Juneteenth celebrations will take place across the country to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
On Saturday, Juneteenth at Oakland Cemetery is offering tours of the African-American Burial Grounds and a performance by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters. The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters’ musical performances preserve their ancestral African-American heritage from coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
The Ring Shout serves as a preview of Atlanta artist, Charmaine Minnifield’s 2020 Juneteenth at Oakland Cemetery installation titled, Remembrance As Resistance: Preserving Black Narratives.
Education Manager of the Historic Oakland Foundation, Marcy Breffle and Charmaine Minnifield discuss the 800 unmarked graves located in the cemetery’s African-American Burial Grounds and the art installation to recognize not only Juneteenth, but the lives of those buried in the African American Burial Grounds.
Minnifield spoke about the significance of the discovery and restoration of the grave sites and the implications in the historically African-American neighborhoods surrounding Oakland Cemetery.
“In a time now where that whole district has a very different identity and that change is happening in multiple communities in our city, for an organization to take the time to acknowledge that original history and reinsert that history where it was missing is very powerful,” Minnifield said.
“To use the platform of this discovery as a way to galvanize a community on remembrance is to me resistance. We are resisting erasure. We are resisting divisiveness. We are resisting opposing narratives to who we are and our ethics in society today.”
Juneteenth at Oakland Cemetery takes place Saturday, June 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.