City of Wilmington, DE Commemorates Juneteenth Holiday

The City of Wilmington, Delaware will commemorate the 158th anniversary of Juneteenth, the nation’s oldest celebration marking the end of slavery, with a series of events and activities. Mayor Mike Purzycki has announced that the Juneteenth flag will be raised in Rodney Square and City government offices will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, in observance of the holiday. The trash and recyclables collection schedule will remain unchanged.

Mayor Purzycki has encouraged residents to reflect on the significance of Juneteenth and to celebrate its purpose. He emphasized that the annual commemoration should reinforce Wilmington’s commitment to accountability and transparency in the fight against systemic racism and in the pursuit of equality and freedom for all.

The City’s official Juneteenth celebration will take place on Wednesday, June 19, starting at 12:00 p.m. in Rodney Square, located at 1000 North Market Street. This event will also serve as a prelude to the 37th Annual Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. The afternoon’s highlight will be an interview with award-winning artist Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, formerly known as Christian Scott. The interview, conducted by long-time WRTI deejay J. Michael Harrison, will be held at the Wilmington Public Library, 10 East 10th Street, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The conversation is free and open to the public, though seating is limited. A Q&A session with the artist will follow.

Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah

Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, formerly Christian Scott, is a celebrated trumpeter, composer, and sonic architect. He has received numerous accolades, including two Edison Awards and six Grammy nominations. Adjuah is also a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and designer of innovative musical technologies, such as The Stretch Music app and the Adjuah Trumpet. As the founder and CEO of the Stretch Music App and Recording Company, he has made significant contributions to the music industry.

Adjuah holds the titles of Chieftain and Oba of the Xodokan Nation and serves as the Grand Griot of New Orleans. His musical lineage includes his grandfather, the late Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr., and his uncle, Jazz innovator and NEA Jazz Master saxophonist-composer Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. Adjuah and his twin brother Kiel joined their grandfather’s Guardians of the Flame banner in 1989 at the age of five.

J. Michael Harrison

J. Michael Harrison began his radio career with the show “Is That Jazz” on WPEB in 1993. He launched “The Bridge” on WRTI 90.1 in 1996, a program that continues to air on Friday evenings. Harrison’s show has received numerous accolades, including Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Radio Program” in 2002 and the Philadelphia City Paper’s recognition as the “Best On-Air Reminder That Jazz Didn’t Die in 1965” in 2007.

In 2022, Harrison was appointed Education Coordinator by the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing Arts. He has also been named a “Jazz Hero” by the Jazz Journalist Association. Since 2008, he has taught music journalism at the University of the Arts and has lectured at several other institutions, including Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. Harrison’s extensive work in the jazz community includes curating and producing content for NPR Live Sessions and collaborating with numerous organizations like the Philadelphia Jazz Project and Jazz Philadelphia.

For more information on the Juneteenth celebration and the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, visit the City of Wilmington’s official website.

Schedule of Events for Wednesday, June 19:

  • 12:00 p.m. – Juneteenth Flag Raising in Rodney Square
  • 12:15 p.m. – Opening Remarks by Mayor Mike Purzycki
  • 1:00 p.m. – Performances by Local Artists
  • 3:00 p.m. – Community Discussion Panels
  • 5:30 p.m. – Interview with Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah at Wilmington Public Library

Join us in commemorating Juneteenth and celebrating the rich cultural heritage and ongoing quest for freedom and equality in Wilmington.

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