INDIANAPOLIS — This Sunday is Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.
Celebrations are happening across the Circle City this weekend and one group is putting a delicious twist on its Juneteenth event.
The holiday is a hidden piece of history during President Benjamin Harrison’s presidency.
"We looked at his involvement with civil rights and his partnership with Black civil rights activists and then we focused in on Dolly Johnson," Special Events & Marketing Manager at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, Whitney Ball said.
Laura "Dolly" Johnson, a Kentucky native, was appointed by President Benjamin Harrison, which made her the first Black chef in the White House. Creator and owner of Sweet Creations Lechelle Jameson hopes to honor Johnson on Juneteenth.
"He fired his French Chef, hired Dolly Johnson, and went on to have her in the White House and she went on to be a business owner after that. So, we want to celebrate her, and this is a perfect time to do so," Ball said.
President Harrison’s appointment of Dolly Johnson happened in the late 1800s, a few years after Juneteenth was celebrated.
This brings us to the Juneteenth Foodways Festival, happening Friday at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.
"We have wonderful restaurants and caterers here in the city. We're excited to highlight them and have them create some of her dishes to have a taste of Dolly Johnson here at the site," Ball said.
Each vendor participating in the Juneteenth Foodways Festival will re-create some of Johnson’s most famous recipes.
"I have a strong sweet tooth. I must have something sweet every day. So, I started baking a lot," Jameson said.
Jameson will re-create Johnson’s famous Lady Finger Cookies.
"They're shortbread cookies. They're not shaped like the round cookies that you see in the store, but they're shaped like your finger. They're slender-type shortbread cookies," Jameson said.
Jameson said it's an honor to celebrate a woman like Johnson, who shattered glass ceilings for Black chefs while honoring the history of Juneteenth.
"Being resilient and courageous. That's what she represents to me." Jameson said.
"It's not just coming here to eat and partake in the food, desserts, and things of that nature. But also, to get that true education because a lot of people don't know the background of Dolly Johnson, or the Juneteenth history, so that alone to me is a very special twist." Jameson said.
The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site hopes to highlight a different civil rights activist each year for Juneteenth.
The Juneteenth Foodways Festival is happening Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It's free to the public, but you must register in advance.
- Big Taste [t.nylas.com]
- Black Leaf Vegan [t.nylas.com]
- Black Lemon [t.nylas.com]
- Blue Avocado
- David Williams [t.nylas.com]- Author
- Drip Small Batch [t.nylas.com] Ice Cream
- Freetown Village [t.nylas.com]
- Gip Got Tips [t.nylas.com]
- Glazz Galore
- Grub House [t.nylas.com]
- Guys Cooking Creation [t.nylas.com]
- Market Square Popcorn [t.nylas.com]
- Marlo's Kitchen
- RMY's Restaurant [t.nylas.com]
- Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream
- Sweet Creations [t.nylas.com]
- Taste Budies
- Taste Of Luv by Dee [t.nylas.com]
- Tea's Me [t.nylas.com]
- The Coney Lady [t.nylas.com]
- Turkey Galore
- Author David A Williams
- Groove Candles/Glazz Galore
- Ivy Tech Community College- Hospitality Administration
- Panthera Elite [t.nylas.com] Gym
- Xpressions Book Store [t.nylas.com]
6 flu-related deaths reported in Indianahe Indiana Department of Health reports 1 flu-related death this past week, bringing the total this season to 6.
Noblesville bus driver saves student from car that ignores stop armWalt Edwards has been a Noblesville bus driver for six months. He says he loves being responsible for getting the students on his route to and from school — safely.
INDOT receives funds to explore passenger rail expansion in IndianaThe Federal Railroad Administration announced INDOT will receive up to $500,000 to study what it will take to expand rail service between Indianapolis and Chicago.
Perry Township School District installs weapon detectors at its high schoolsThe detectors, installed at Perry Meridian High School and Southport High School, will light-up red and send an alert if it detects guns, knives or other harmful objects.