The Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo was started in 1976 by B.U.I.L.D., a community-based organization, as a culturally relevant alternative to the country’s Bicentennial Celebration. The group blocked off part of Jefferson Avenue — the “Main Street” of Buffalo’s Black community — for a weekend celebration. Murals were painted and vendors set up booths to sell ethnic foods and wares — entertainment and festivity were abundant. After several years, the Juneteenth Festival outgrew Jefferson Avenue. It is now held in Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the intersection of Best Street and Fillmore Avenue. Juneteenth Festival Inc. received 501(c) (3) status in 1985. In 2000, the name of the organization was changed to Juneteenth of Buffalo, Inc. to reflect its broader mission.
Juneteenth of Buffalo, Inc. exists exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Staffed by volunteers, its mission is to actively preserveand promote the broad spectrum of African American heritage through educational and cultural activities that will benefit the community as a whole. Juneteenth Festival, Inc. partners with existing organizations with similar community-based objectives to help achieve its mission.