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Convos with Griots

Juneteenth Griots Society

The Griots were established by the Juneteenth Celebration Committee to serve as official elders and/or ceremonial storytellers for the Juneteenth Celebration Weekend. The Griots’ character was created based off of the historical African Griots who are storytellers of Western African folklore and stories, but in the American experience Griots have a charge to communicate the stories of “how we got over”, the stories that bring us to be able to celebrate Juneteenth today. For the purpose of Juneteenth, The Griots Society embraces various community members between ages 55 and 85, that will help educate Juneteenth participants through testimonials, reading of sacred text and cultural stories, and Q&A sessions. The Griots will have a scheduled interactive reading during the children’s activities. They will also have a reserved area to display african literature, cultural art, and have conversations with community members.

Cultural Education & Art


As part of our Juneteenth Festival (June 18th), the Griots Society will provide a breadth of cultural art and educational discussions related to African American freedom and achievement, as well as black history in the City of Gulfport.

Wadago Village

Children's Activities

• Bounce House & Playground• Juneteenth Crafts & Games• Mobile Gaming• Field /Outdoor Activities and more!

Live Entertainment

Live Band of Weekend: Fly High Music Entertainment 

Kickoff with our live in house band at the Juneteenth Kick-Off party. We also have various live performances in several music genres during the Juneteenth Festival. Inspirational Gospel singers, dancers, and choirs; along with a live band for some Party, Blues, & Oldies! We wrap up the celebration with the Freedom Rally showcasing Gulfport’s talent!


Freedom Weekend 2022

June 16 - 18, 2022

Take a look below f the full details on the Freedom Weekend Celebration for Gulfport City-Wide Juneteenth. If you have any questions about specific activities or event timing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch - we’ll be happy to help.


6:19 PM

Thursday, June 16th / Mary Spinks-Thigpen Oratorical Contest

The Mary Spinks-Thigpen Oratorical Scholarship was established to honor the continued legacy of Mrs. Mary Spinks-Thigpen. Known as an advocate and trailblazer for African Americans across the MS Gulf Coast, Mrs. Thigpen continues to be an inspiration to our community.  Along with being well-known in the Gulfport community of Forest Heights, she has  dedicated countless passionate years to Gulfport’s African-American communities and its youth. Most notably, Mrs. Thigpen faithfully served for years the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Gulf Coast Forest Heights Center, as well as a founding and influential member of the Coast-Wide Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Celebration. In recognition of Mrs. Thigpen empowering the youth of our communities, we honor her as the namesake of this Oratorical Scholarship.

Learn More

7:19 PM

Friday, June 17th / Juneteenth Kick-Off Party

Kick-Off Party “kicks” the celebration weekend into gear as we prepare for the Freedom Parade & Festival the next day. Kick Off Party activities include/ feature networking, drinks, a live band, and entertainment! The event is BYOB. Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served and an open bar will be available. Tickets are $20.

11:19 AM Promenade / 12:19 PM Festival

Saturday, June 18th / Freedom Promenade & Festival

#CelebrateJuneteenth with us at the Freedom Festival and come out and enjoy local entertainments from all along the MS Gulf Coast including gospel artists and churches, Blues & Oldies, Hip-Hop, a LIVE BAND and more.

There are a breadth of activities for the community to be engaged in, as well as over 40 food, craft, and resource vendors.

Family-Friendly Event, and free to the public!

11:19 AM

Sunday, June 19th / Freedom Brunch & Awards

Day four of the Freedom Weekend Celebration is dedicated to honoring the history of African American freedom, celebrating black fathers, present scholarships to the recipients of the Mary Spinks-Thigpen Oratorical Contest, and honoring community leaders with annual awards.

This year’s community awards will honor:

Ms. Angie Juzang with The Christene Brice Leader-In-Action Award, and Mr. Jeffrey Hulum with the Lloyd Croutch Service-To-Culture Award.

Tickets are accompanied with a brunch menu provided by local black owned restaurant sponsors.