A Photographic Recap Of Our 2024 Juneteenth Events

Collage of three photos: One of a woman sitting and speaking under a tent, another of two men sitting at a panel, and another of a man playing a saxophone inside of a room.
This year’s Arabia Alliance Juneteenth celebrations included a Salute to Black Music Month at the New Black Wall Street Market, our first-ever Movie Night In The NHA, and, back for a second year, the Juneteenth Storytelling Festival at Bruce Street.
Salute To Black Music Month

Black Music Month, initially proposed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, only came to official recognition in 2000 after efforts to convince Congress by Dyana Williams and fellow activists. On June 1, the Arabia Alliance threw a free Salute to Black Music Month event at the New Black Wall Street Market (NBWSM) in Stonecrest. The lineup included some local musical luminaries such as: hip hop artist TreVante, singer and pianist Queen Aheisha, soulful gospel singer Joe Gable, and saxophone master J. Saxx. 

From 2:30 to 5pm, NBWSM shoppers grooved with the music and learned about the Lithonia Country Club and Motor Speedway and Black Georgia musicians from a historical pop-up exhibit designed by our Assistant Executive Director and historian Brigette Jones. More than 100 people visited our Salute to Black Music Month!

TreVante opened the Salute to Black Music Month set with some fiery originals and soulful covers.

A man plays a saxophone for an audience sitting and standing around him. The room is brightly lit and decorated.

Local saxophone expert J. Saxx doing his thing at NBWSM.

Joe Gable blew the room away with his powerful voice and gospel style.

The pop-up exhibit featured 14 panels covering music history in the Heritage Area and beyond.

A close-up of the final panel of the pop-up exhibit.

Movie Night In The NHA: Rustin

This Juneteenth marked the Heritage Area’s first-ever Movie Night In The NHA! On June 15, at Lithonia‘s Occasions on Main, the Arabia Alliance screened the Oscar-nominated movie Rustin about Gay Civil Rights icon and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington Bayard Rustin. Visitors enjoyed a night with an open bar, fresh popped popcorn, and scrumptious charcuterie cups while watching the incredible true story of Bayard Rustin as portrayed by Colman Domingo. After the film, Arabia Alliance Assistant Executive Director Brigette Jones led a panel discussion about Civil Rights, civil engagement, and LGBTQ activism with Georgia State community organizer Davante Jennings-Townsend and Tim’m T. West, Executive Director of the LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. It was a cinematic and informative evening!

Two women speak into microphones on the side of a projected screen. A woman and a boy in the audience sit immediately in front of them.

Georgia Public Broadcasting representative and Arabia Alliance Executive Director Revonda Cosby give their remarks and thanks to the audience.

Two men and a woman sit and talk at a panel. Some signs and plaques in easels are on display behind them. White curtains with orange lighting are in the background.

Arabia Alliance AED and Historian Brigette Jones (right) leading a discussion after the screening with Tim’m West (center) and Davante Jennings (left).

2nd Annual Juneteenth Storytelling Festival

The Bruce Street School continues to bring in crowds to its lawn! With the 2nd annual Juneteenth Storytelling Festival, which took place on the afternoon of June 18, 2024, attendees reminisced on stories and memories of their upbringings. With the theme of “On the Streets Where We Live,” event-goers shared their stories of the communities of their youth and detailed the ways these places shaped their lives. And the Arabia Alliance was there to listen.

Two women stand at a podium beneath a tent, with one of them speaking into a microphone.

Arabia Alliance Executive Director Revonda Cosby (right) and Assistant Executive Director Brigette Jones (left) introduce the event and its schedule to the audience.

A woman behind a podium raises her hand to an audience sitting in chairs beneath a tent on a lawn.

Attendees ranged from community acquaintances to former Bruce Street School students and graduates, now seniors at the East DeKalb Senior Center at Bruce Street.

A woman sitting in a chair speaks to an audience sitting among her beneath a tent on a lawn.

Former Bruce Street School student Allene Harper reminisces about her upbringing in the area.

Like last year, the storytelling festival featured delicious food from nearby vendors and kitchens. This time attendees enjoyed a selection of fried fish with fries and coleslaw from JJ Fish & Chicken (many trays of food were emptied), fresh fruit and vegetables, plus popsicles from Atlanta’s own King of Pops!

A tray of catfish and fries sits on a table, along with tongs and paper plates.

A selection of fried fish (catfish, trout and whiting), fries and coleslaw from JJ Fish & Chicken was served for lunch. Yum!

A woman slices a watermelon into pieces on a table, in front of another woman.

Exec. Director Revonda Cosby’s wife, Patrice Cosby, slices up a fresh watermelon for attendees to enjoy!

In addition to collecting stories (and having delicious food), community involvement has always been an imperative for the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance. Just as the Alliance often attends, tables and supports events of partners, community heavyweights such as the DeKalb History Center and the DeKalb County Public Library system were present at the festival, each with a table with their own representatives. Cross-promotion of initiatives to further mutual goals and values was what allowed the Historic Bruce Street School Preservation and Revitalization Project to get to where it is today!

Two women sit and stand at a desk and listen to a man speaking to them. Poster boards behind them describe history of DeKalb County, with several flyers lying on the desk.

Representatives from the DeKalb History Center, an archive and museum based in Decatur covering DeKalb County’s vast history, connected with attendees.

A man reads a poster board about equalization in Georgia, which is propped up in front of the ruins of the Bruce Street School.

Georgia integration history and its impacts on the Bruce Street School was on display via poster boards around the site, turning the school into its own museum.

Several women stand around a chair with several books and observe them. Other people are seen behind them standing and sitting in chairs.

Drawings were held for a variety of Juneteenth-themed books.

Although June is now over, the Arabia Alliance has many more events this summer. Check out the Events Calendar to find cool happenings and programs from the Alliance, Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, Panola Mountain State Park, AWARE, the South River Watershed Alliance, and other partners!