Supporting equality is a community value
Posted on 06/20/2024
Mayor Brian Turnbull

Northvillians and friends,

I would like to slow down and reflect on the history of the Juneteenth holiday, which was celebrated on June 19, and our local support of equality-for-all in the community.

Juneteenth is known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, or Black Independence Day. Officially, it’s called Juneteenth National Independence Day and is a federal holiday. It is celebrated annually on June 19 to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States. The holiday’s name is a combination of the words June and Nineteenth, as it was on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger ordered the final enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. This year is the 159th anniversary of that day.

While it has long been celebrated in many communities, President Biden signed Juneteenth into law June 17, 2021. This was the first federal holiday approved since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. On this day, Biden was quoted saying, “We recommit ourselves to the work of equality and justice across these United States.”

What’s going on today
Music in downtown Northville through the Summer. Fridays – Link, Saturday –  Link.  Sunday – Details to come.

Northville Historical Society’s Garden Party Fundraiser - 6/22, 4 - 7 pm Enjoy live music, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and more on the historic grounds! – Link

Cooling Center - Northville Community Center: With the heat index soaring this week… the Community Center is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday, June 21, for guests of all ages who need to beat the heat.

Congrats go out to the Northville Mustang Men’s High School Baseball team for winning the State championship. Thank you for representing our community!

Our local support of Juneteenth activities and equality

Northville’s Underground Railroad connections
According to a 1927 Record article, the Ambler Hotel in downtown Northville in the 1800’s was a major station on the Underground Railroad during the Victorian era, assisting folks in their fight for freedom. In addition to the Ambler Hotel, other stations in the Northville area were: The Cady Inn (still in the area), the Starkweather Farm (7 Mile/Beck) and a location near where Meads Mill School is today.

John Lewis (Michigan’s last Civil War vet) – Mr. Lewis was a storied Civil War veteran. According to The Record: “The Lewis family fled the South before the Civil War and stayed at the Ambler Station on the underground railroad. Eventually, the Lewis family took up residence in the Northville School District in Salem.
John Lewis felt compelled to enlist in Pontiac’s first African American division during the Civil War.” He was involved in fighting at Gettysburg, and the Lewis Family always displayed a Civil War drum that John used on the battlefield. John Lewis was Michigan’s last living Civil War veteran.

Joe Louis (World’s Heavyweight Boxing Champion) – Originally Joseph Louis Barrow, Joe Louis put our town on the map in the 1930’s when he trained on occasion in Northville at the Downs. At the time, the town was a nucleus of boxing in the Detroit area, with a private full-time indoor ring in the Village on Wing Street. Over time, Joe Louis became a beloved neighbor of our town and was a true Northvillian.

Martin Luther King Jr. – One of my favorite equality MLK quotes is from the I have a dream speech: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equally.”

So, let’s slow down this Juneteenth week and live the dream of equality for all in our society.

Keep that Northville Equality Faith!

Brian Turnbull
Mayor, city of Northville
[email protected] / 248.505.6849

Black leaders: MLK, Joe Louis