By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – The Dearborn Historical Museum launched its first Juneteenth Celebration June 18 at the McFadden-Ross House in conjunction with the Dearborn-based non-profit Homage to Black Excellence, H2BE.
A disc jockey offered outdoor music and a chance to dance, Dearborn Brewing served up cold beer, a food truck offer tempting treats and entrepreneurs offered their colorful wares inside the McFadden-Ross House.
Sheila Rucinski, owner of Dearborn Brewing with her husband, John, said that as a local brewery they always like to participate in community events.
Assistant Dearborn Historical Museum Curator Matthew Graff said this was the first big Juneteenth event at the Historical Museum, which came to fruition when Julia Kapilango, director of Communications and Operations for H2BE, contacted them.
“We are expecting a modest turnout,” he said. “It is Father’s Day and it’s Sunday night, but really this was just an event to bring the community together, to get recognition to Juneteenth.”
Graff said Dearborn in 2023 is not the same Dearborn as when the late Mayor Orville Hubbard was at the height of his power.
“Dearborn in many ways has evolved,” he said. “The population of Dearborn is one of those things that is constantly changing.”
Kapilango said she wanted something to happen for Juneteenth and she wanted to help the Historical Museum bring that vision to reality.
“It’s about a partnership of diversity and inclusion, as we all come together to celebrate, promote and honor Black excellence,” she said.
Kapilango said that over the past seven years, H2BE, situated in Dearborn’s ArtSpace, has been able to address the uncomfortable topics about Dearborn’s past among Black and white residents and community leaders.
“From that work we’ve been able to create a culture and a space where everyone is becoming more comfortable with releasing the history and the historical trauma of the Hubbard era and some of the remnants that are still subtle, but are now becoming a little less,” she said.
Kapilango said the event also supports Black entrepreneurs and artists, and offers a chance to listen to DJ Asset, to sample beer from Dearborn Brewing and to try the food truck on site.
“I think it’s just going to be a really great historical moment for the city of Dearborn,” she said.