The 4th Annual Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas: Juneteenth Independence Day to be Held in East Chattanooga


    With a continued commitment to celebrating the extraordinary contributions of artists of African descent, the 4th Annual Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas will begin its Juneteenth celebration on May 31st with a pause to remember the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre. We will hold a solemn Candlelight Ceremony commemorating the deadliest and most destructive massacre in our country’s history.

    This year’s slate of events will be hosted based on the most recent CDC COVID-19 recommendations for masks and social distancing. We will present work showcasing the disciplines of music, dance, visual arts, film and spoken word throughout the month of June.  Most events will be held on MLK Blvd. in honor of Black Wall Street. The main event, Juneteenth Independence Day will be held at Community Haven in East Chattanooga with a black party vibe.

    The multidisciplinary festival aims to spotlight emerging and established local Black artists and build greater community awareness of the diversity of Black arts within Chattanooga and Hamilton County, says festival founder and CEO Ricardo “Ric” Morris. The event will also provide opportunities for discussions on topics that connect Black arts to other areas of the life of the community.

    “The first and most important outcome I want the festival to achieve is to awaken the greater Chattanooga community to the broad spectrum of exemplary work by black artists in our own back yard,” Mr. Morris says. “This celebration will allow other ethnicities to better understand and embrace the concept that while these works of art may be created Black people and reflective of the Black condition, they more importantly speak to the human condition in ways that only the arts can do.”

    The date of the festival coincides with the internationally recognized observance of Juneteenth, a U.S. holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas and, more widely, the emancipation of African slaves throughout the former Confederacy.

    Black homes and businesses after being torched by white mobs during the 1921 Tulsa massacre. So determined were whites in Tulsa to wipe out all evidence of Blacks’ prosperity and achievement despite impossible odds, they used airplanes to firebomb Black Wall Street from the air.

    Highlights of the festival line-up include:

    Monday, May 31st – 5:00 PM – Free

    The inaugural, Inviting Their Voices: A Youth Town Hall – Racism. The Waterhouse Pavilion. At the Corner of MLK & Market Street starting at 5:00 PM

    Monday, May 31st – 6:21 PM – Free

    100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre. We will hold a solemn Candlelight Ceremony in Miller Park starting at 6:21

    Fridays, June 4th – 25th – 9:00 PM – Free

    Oscar Micheaux Black Film Festival (outside) – Community Haven, 815 North Hickory in East Chattanooga  

    Thursday, June 10th – 6:00 PM – Free

    Elizabeth Catlett Visual Arts Exhibition Opening Night Cocktails

    Join us at the Proof Bar, 422 E. MLK Blvd., as we view the work of featured artist Joseph Forson’s work

    Friday, June 18th – 6:00 PM – Free / Streaming

    Artist to Artist: A Round Table : Meet and Greet Ed Johnson Memorial artist Jerome Meadows and CFBA&I featured Artist Joseph Forson and others. Keeody Gallery 756 West MLK Bld Suite 200

    Saturday, June 19th – 10:00 AM – Free

    Scratching Your Roots Black Genealogy Workshop – Chattanooga Public Library – 1001 Broad Street

    Saturday, June 19th – 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Free

    Juneteenth Independence Day All School Reunion Block Party Music, Food, DJ for dancing and games. Community Haven – 815 North Hickory in East Chattanooga

    Sunday, June 20th  –  1:30 PM – Ticketed

    Black Dads Matter Jazz Brunch Cruse aboard the Southern Bell River Boat. Live music with Dexter Bell and Friends – Singer Jackie Ramsey.

     “With this fourth-year’s presentation of the festival, we are taking Juneteenth into the Black community with welcoming arms for all to attend.” Says, Mr. Morris, Founder and CEO of the festival.

    If you would like to be a vendor or volunteer visit our website our website at and complete the form.

    Community partners providing support for the festival include: Benwood, Lyndhurst and Footprint Foundations, Bessie Smith African- American Museum, River City Co., The Chattanooga News Chronicle, EPB, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, Chattanooga Public Library, City of Chattanooga, The Proof Bar. For more information, visit the festival website at or call Ric Morris @ (423) 883-0178. You may also send an e-mail to: