Home Local News City of Madison raises Juneteenth flag over City-County Building

City of Madison raises Juneteenth flag over City-County Building

(L-r) Joshua Wright, Annie Weatherby-Flowers and Corinda Rainey-Moore at the Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony at the Madison City-Council Building on June 6. (Photo by Isaac Trussoni)

The Juneteenth flag was raised over Madison’s City-County Building at noon on June 6 in an act of recognition and celebration of the historic holiday. June 19 will mark the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned of their freedom from bondage and stands as a day of remembrance for freedom from the system of chattel slavery.   

The Juneteenth flag is raised over Madison’s City-County Building.
(Photo by Isaac Trussoni)

The Juneteenth celebration in Madison has long been facilitated by Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self-Determination, an organization that looks to build community among Black people, the African Diaspora, and the greater Madison community. 

Annie Weatherby-Flowers is a founder of Kujichagulia and the original organizer of Madison’s Juneteenth celebrations which are now in their 34th year. At the flag-raising, she recalled how important early events were in bringing together the community in the early 90s.      

“When I came to Madison, I worked at Madison Inner City Council on Substance Abuse, and we noticed that Madison’s Black community was separated geographically, economically and socially,” said Weatherby-Flowers. “One thing that we come together and have a shared heritage in is the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, the freedom of the slaves. Slavery impacted all of us, from the African diaspora to all of us here who live in America.”

While the day does call for celebration, Juneteenth also serves as a day to reflect on the racialized reality of our history, present, and future. State Rep. Shelia Stubbs, who championed efforts to recognize Juneteenth formally at the Madison City-County Building, spoke in support of utilizing the day as a day of learning as well as celebration. 

State Rep. Samba Baldeh
(Photo by Isaac Trussoni)




Stubbs said that on Juneteenth, “We don’t just recognize one day in history … but every day and every sacrifice and every triumph in the African-American community.”

“We celebrate, but we also continue to fight. We fight to heal the wrongs of our past, to build our communities where every person can thrive, and to embrace one another as family no matter our different identities and backgrounds,” she continued. “We reflect and we reconnect. We recommit ourselves to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to equality and equity. We pursue the dreams of our ancestors to live free, and to live well … to build more prosperity and to build a perfect union for our children to play.”

State Rep. Shelia Stubbs
(Photo by Isaac Trussoni)

Other public figures such as Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and County Executive Joe Parisi also spoke on Madison’s commitment to honoring Juneteenth, along with State Rep. Samba Baldeh and Madison alderman Isadore Knox Jr. who gave words on the history and legacy that Juneteenth stems from in Black communities.

Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett (Photo by Isaac Trussoni)

Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett also gave a reminder on how crucial it is to be in community saying, “Juneteenth reminds us that even when significant change happens in our country and in our communities, not everyone has access to that. That is why it’s up to each and every one of us with our voices to ensure that our community members know about the resources, policies, laws, and changes that are occurring on a daily basis.”

Juneteenth celebrations will be held at Penn Park on June 17, and Weatherby-Flowers stressed how important community support is in both financially and ideologically continuing Juneteenth recognition.