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The Third Annual

Chattanooga Festival of

Black Arts & Ideas

"Juneteenth Independence Day Commemoration"

June 19, 2020

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The Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas

presents its

3rd Annual Juneteenth

Independence Day Commemoration

Friday, June 19th at 7:00 PM on the

Walnut Street Bridge. Open to the public!

As part of the commemoration we are seeking 155 Black volunteers to be RBG Pan-Africanism flag bearers. Each flag represents one year of the 155 years since our emancipation from slavery. Volunteers are being asked to stand in a designated area across the Walnut Street Bridge on both sides; wear a face covering and to socially distance for approximately one (1) hour. You may participate alone, as a family, or as group of four (4). We are asking that you confirm your participation by signing up under the (click here for Facebook Event  sign-in sheet) RESERVE A SPOT button. You may also confirm your desire to participate by in-boxing us your name, phone number and email address or if you have any questions or concerns.

In addition to the flags presentation, there will be an open mic for artists to perform relevant songs/music, poems and spoken word pieces (5 minute max). You will be able to sign-up at the mic in the center of the bridge.

The Black Arts Festival strongly believes in the transformative Power Of The Arts. We believe that art delights, instructs, and consoles by educating our emotions. Art awakens, enlarges, refines, and restores our humanity. James Baldwin once said, "All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up." 

Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas 


In the interest of public safety, the 2020 Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas: Juneteenth Independence Day is postponed. The festival will return on 

Friday, June 11 – 20, 2021. 

We recognize the Juneteenth holiday and its public commemoration is more important now than ever.  Juneteenth represents a historic triumph of the human spirit. With the coronavirus weighing heavily on everyone’s heart, the world should know that we have been here before.  And just as our spirit has not and will not be defeated by centuries of slavery, oppression and injustice it will not be defeated by this pandemic.  Chattanooga needs the uplift that the Black Arts Festival: Juneteenth Commemoration had started to create over the past two years. We will skip the physical celebration of local Black artist in 2020, but we have already begun planning for 2021! It will be bigger and better than ever! This year, keep an eye out for our virtual celebration as we 

commemorate Juneteenth together in our hearts! 

The Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas: 

Juneteenth Independence Day Commemoration 

Consist of Eight Days of Performances, Visual Art Exhibitions, 

Food, Crafts, Vendors and Discussions Panels

With a commitment to celebrating the extraordinary contributions of artists of African descent, the Annual Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas presents a slate of work showcasing the disciplines of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film and literature at varies locations throughout Chattanooga.

This multi-disciplinary festival aims to spotlight emerging and established Black artists and build greater community awareness of the diversity of Black arts within Chattanooga, Hamilton County and the World. The festival also provides opportunities for discussions on topics that connect Black arts to other areas  in the community.

What our customers are saying

“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 backyard. This celebration will allow other ethnicities to better understand and embrace the concept that while these works of art may be created by Black people and reflective of the Black condition, they more importantly speak to the human condition 

in ways that only the arts can do.”

- Ricardo "Ric" Morris, CFBA&I Founder & CEO

Ricardo "Ric" Morris

Highlights of the festival line-up include:

2020 would have marked the third year for

Chattanooga Festival of 

Black Arts & Ideas 

will be held June 13  - June 21

Events will take place over 8 days in varying locations throughout the city of Chattanooga.



The  Maya Angelou Festival of Words will feature some of Chattanooga's most talented poets and spoken word artists as they present an extraordinary evening of entertainment. This is a ticketed event for adults only. There is limited seating so get your tickets early.  This  spoken word event will be held at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.


On Monday, June 15th there will be a meet and greet reception and panel discussion during the Elizabeth Catlett Visual Arts Exhibition at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre from 5:30 - 7:30. This year's featured artists TBA.  The exhibit will open on May 28th and run through 21st. 


CFBA&I will present Black dancers from around the city in the Juba Dance Festival featuring dancers in recital from the D. Williams Dance Academy. 


Oscar Micheaux Black Film​ Festival will kick-off at 12:00 noon box lunch screening of several short films by black film makers!! Beginning at 6:00 pm we will pay tribute to Tyler Perry with a screening of his very first film, "Dairy of a Mad Black Woman".  We will also look at the festival's name sake Oscar Micheaux and the genre of "Race Films". 


The August Wilson Playmakers Festival in partnership with the Chattanooga Theatre Centre (CTC) Thursday, June 18th is Black Arts & Ideas night to see  "Dreamgirls" directed by Black Arts Festival founder and CEO Ric Morris.   This powerhouse musical was a Tony Award-winning hit on Broadway that became an Academy Award-winning film sensation. Dreamgirls celebrates the advent of R&B in the 1960’s with a Motown-inspired score and a moving look behind the scenes of the entertainment business. Experience the onstage joy and backstage drama as an up-and-coming girl group learns hard lessons about love, trust, and what it takes to get to the top.  Get your ticket today!

This partnership will allow CFBA&I to also present a fully-realized play in addition to one or more staged readings by local, national and international Black playwrights. 


In commemoration of Juneteenth we kick of the celebration at 6:00 PM with a dramatic reading by a notable Black Chattanoogan of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Celebration will continue with professionally staged musical performances, tailgating, spoken word, field games, and a DJ dance party and contest. Ole School, New Schools and ALL Schools; frats and sorors stepping.   Whose got the best potato salad, BBQ and banana pudding? Location TBD. We end the event with a singing of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" with audience participation. 


The Chattanooga Public Library will host from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Scratching Your Roots: A Black Genealogy Workshop hosted by former Tennessee State Representative Joanne Favors. 

As a continuation of the Maya Angelou Festival of Words  the Chattanooga Theatre Centre (CTC) will host a free poetry workshop and open mic from 12 - 2 p.m. This event is open to all ages and writing levels and will feature a local visual artist as the poetic inspiration. From 4  - 6 p.m. local visual artists who are also poets will share poetry inspired by their own artistry in an event called, "Poetry Meets Paint." This event is also open to all ages and will include an interactive element allowing the audience to make comment and ask questions of the artists. 

Saturday evening, June 20, from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  in celebration of Black Music Appreciation Month, CFBA&I will present the Legacy Music Festival in the newly renovated Miller Park in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. What will remain the same in 2020 is that throughout the day a variety of music genres will be performed including, but not limited to jazz, rap, R&B, hip hop, classical, soul, gospel and blues music as well as spoken word. Visual artists, crafts people and other vendors will have designated areas along the park’s perimeter to exhibit and sale their work. 


CFBA&I will join with gospel singer and songwriter Trent Williams to curate a collection of choirs/praise teams & soloists as we launch Chattanooga's Second Annual Black Dads Matter (BDM) Gospel Music Festival and Father's Day Brunch (Ticketed Event) at the Hunter Museum of American Art .   

What is Juneteenth Independence Day?

JUNTEENTH - June 19, 1865

The dates 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.

The festival will close in the newly renovated Miller Park, where there will be a dramatic reading by a noteworthy Black Chattanoogan of the Emancipation Proclamation, accompanied by performances of traditional Negro Spirituals and the singing of the Negro National Anthem as arranged by internationally recognized Chattanooga composer and conductor, Dr. Roland M. Carter.

Our hope is to eventually add an educational component that would provide lesson plans for teachers in the Hamilton County Public Schools as well as other area schools to educate students about Juneteenth and other aspects of Black history.

See What People Are Saying

“With this second annual presentation of the festival, we continue to strive to gain a reputation for providing audiences with artistic experiences presented by Black artists that are extraordinary and enriching for the entire community.” 

- Ricardo "Ric" Morris,
CFBA&I Founder & CEO