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A Participant's View of MLK Parade, Juneteenth 
On a cool morning of June 20, 2022, the City of Knoxville and participating organizations paraded down Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in a combined celebration of the Civil Rights leader and the newest federal holiday, Juneteenth.

MLK parade

Originally scheduled for Jan. 17, the parade was cancelled due to inclement weather and rescheduled for the day right after Juneteenth, a new federal holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the liberation of the last enslaved African Americans in Texas and has been widely celebrated by the Black community long before it became a federal holiday.

The parade proceeded down MLK and ended at Dr. Walter E Hardy Park, where a Juneteenth celebration commenced. Mayor Indya Kincannon, members of her cabinet and Knoxville Police Chief Paul Noel led the parade, with many celebrants enthusiastically following behind. 

Summer in the City interns helped decorate a KAT bus with the images of key Civil Rights Movement leaders and passed out candy to members of the community who stood on parade route. Other parade participants handed out books about Black history and civil rights.

Parade watchers lined the sidewalks while others watched from the comfort of their porches. 

There were overwhelmingly positive accounts of the experience from participating interns.

“I would say that Juneteenth means to me, history and just acknowledging our ancestors, our roots, and an appreciation for that,” says Ayanna Albright, one of the Summer in the City interns. 

The Juneteenth celebration at Dr. Walter E. Hardy Park was also a hit. Dancers from Austin-East High School performed in the streets while bands enthusiastically played their instruments and performed songs. The park was filled with representation of the city's Black community. 

Austin East Dancers

“We gathered on Monday June 20th to celebrate a time of Unity and Solidarity of the acknowledgement of Freedom that MLK Day and Juneteenth represent," said Kathy Mack, City of Knoxville Community Engagement Manager, explaining the significance of the celebration. "As people gathered from all walks of like to walk, chant, drum and dance, it was clear that we have come a long way from the days of segregation and slavery,”

The day's celebration commemorated Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to America and more than a century and a half of African American freedom. 

Summer in the City Interns for 2022

Blog post by Summer in the City Intern Teresa Cao

Posted by ptravis On 14 July, 2022 at 12:22 PM