Local MLK Association and City of Asheville announce 2024 Juneteenth Celebration June 17-21

grapic showing logos of event sponsors

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County, in partnership with the City of Asheville, has planned the 2024 Juneteenth Celebration with the intended outcomes of a diverse celebration that fosters broad participation, promotes community awareness and appreciation, and celebrates the liberation of enslaved people.

Dating back to 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This started the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

The City of Asheville designated Juneteenth as a city holiday in 2021, and on June 11, 2024 Mayor Esther Manheimer will issue a proclamation acknowledging Juneteenth as a day of celebration for Black Americans.

All events are free and open to the public. The Juneteenth Lunch & Learn Sessions will feature a catered lunch followed by local leaders speaking on topics such as the historical facts of Juneteenth, reflections of life in Black Asheville, and slave records & African-American cemeteries. Also, come celebrate with us at Juneteenth At DownTown After 5 and at the Juneteenth Gala.



Lunch and Learn Series

All Lunch & Learns will be 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Monday, June 17: Lunch and Learn at Linwood Crump Shiloh Center, 121 Shiloh Road

Theme: Honoring The Legacy of Civil Rights Workers: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner 60th Memorial.


Tuesday, June 18: Lunch and Learn at Dr. Wesley Grant Center, 285 Livingston Street

Theme: First African American Families of Asheville and Buncombe County 


Thursday, June 20: Lunch and Learn at Burton Street Recreation Center, 134 Burton Street

Theme: Reflections on Gentrification of the African American Neighborhoods


Friday, June 21: Lunch and Learn at Tempie-Avery Montford Center, 34 Pearson Drive

Theme: Early African American Health Care & Today’s African American Inequities 


Additional Events

Distinguished Speaker Presentation and Reception 

Wednesday, June 19. 12 p.m.: Black Wall Street, 8 River Arts Place

Speaker: Mary D. Williams. 

Theme: From Slavery to Juneteenth Jubilee


Juneteenth Gala

Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m. : Stephens-Lee Center, 30 George Washington Carver Avenue

A celebratory commemoration of Juneteenth, this ‘tie or no-tie’ gala will be free and open to the public. Guests will enjoy catered appetizers, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a live band with dancing, and a fashion show presenting a variety of local treasures procured from many of the community’s most talented entrepreneurs and artists of color.


Juneteenth At DownTown After 5

Friday June 21, 5 – 9 p.m.: North Lexington Ave

The Asheville Downtown Association proudly announces a special collaboration with the Martin Luther King Jr. Association for this year’s Juneteenth celebration at Downtown After 5. The event, presented by Prestige Subaru, will take place on North Lexington Avenue on Friday, June 21, from 5 PM to 9 PM, rain or shine.

The musical lineup features the incredible talents of Lyric and Sierra Green & The Giants, ensuring a memorable evening filled with great music. The event will be hosted by the charismatic Petey Smith McDowell, promising an atmosphere of non-stop entertainment and fun.

Event highlights include:

  • A vibrant marketplace featuring BIPOC vendors and their unique crafts and goods.
  • Delicious cuisine from Black-owned food trucks and stands.
  • Opportunities to engage with non-profit organizations serving the community.
  • Amazing musical performances throughout the evening.

Attendees are reminded that wristbands are required for alcohol consumption, available for purchase via credit card only at designated tents. Please note, no outside alcohol and no pets are allowed at the event.

Diverse transportation options are available, including Asheville Rides Transit (ART), bike parking on North Lexington, and rideshare opportunities, with additional parking available at Civic Center or Rankin Garage.


All events are FREE to the public due to the generous donations and/or sponsorships of the following organizations:

  • The City of Asheville
  • Mission Health Asheville 
  • Explore Asheville
  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
  • Dogwood Health Trust 
  • Burial Beer Company
  • Highland Brewery 
  • DownTown After 5 
  • Advent Health 
  • Givens Communities 

For more information about Juneteenth Celebrations, contact Oralene Simmons at ogsimmons@att.net.