Juneteenth Cincinnati

Home of Cincinnati’s Annual Juneteenth Festival

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water.

Water is an important image in African American spirituals. Deep River finds hope on the other side of the river. Go Down, Moses is a spiritual of deliverance in which Pharaoh’s armies were drowned in the Red Sea, and Harriet Tubman is said to have sung Wade in the Water to remind her Underground Railroad passengers how to evade the slave catchers’ dogs.   

Water was an inescapable aspect of the slave experience. Africans began their horrifying journey by traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, crammed like cattle in the holds of slave ships.  

If they survived the voyage, , they were shipped up river and down to plantations and farms where they would spend the rest of their lives in bondage.

  • The Ohio River was a dividing line between enslavement and freedom.
  • Escape via the Underground Railroad sometimes began with refuge in watery southern swamps.
  • And a century later police infamously used water as a weapon, turning high-powered fire hoses against demonsters demanding the right to vote.
  • Most recently Georgia made it illegal  for  anyone (other than a poll worker), to give a bottle of  water to  people standing in line to vote.

Join with Juneteenth Dancers

June 12

On June 12, 2022, join Juneteenth Cincinnati in recognizing the significant role of water in the 400-year history of African enslavement and the quest for freedom with a symbolic dance to acknowledge the role water has played in “enslavement” and “freedom” in the America’s.   We will all wear white with an accent of color if we choose (sash, a scarf, jewelry, etc.).  

In Cincinnati we will dance along the river (or across the Purple Bridge) .   

 Details will be posted


 We are inviting freedom lovers outside the Cincinnati area to join us virtually by performing  simultaneous dances over, beside or near a body of water in your area and tape the performance.

Water is everywhere.

Join wherever you are.

It can be the Atlantic Ocean, the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Cape Fear River, the Chattahoochee River, Lake Erie, Lake Pontchartrain,  the Caribbean, or the Pacific..

Join us in the moving tribute to water on June 12th   3:00pm  

If you are not near a body of water, get creative.   A fountain, a tub of water……… let’s talk.



Short Video Clips from 2021

Dancing by the Ohio River, June, 2021
Brazilians performed their "Wade" dance near Ro.
A dance troupe in Cachoeirinha Brazil imagined the Atlantic journey from Africa to Brazil--and back.