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Celebrate Juneteenth in Kalamazoo and the Eccentric Café

June 16, 2023

This Juneteenth, we’re again joining the Kalamazoo community to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to our history as a country.

Kalamazoo’s Celebration

We’re proud to participate in the greater Kalamazoo Juneteenth celebrations. Check out a list of FREE events here. But first, a little background…

About Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned about the end of the civil war – and, more importantly, their freedom – nearly two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. In commemoration of this day, Juneteenth (a combination of June and 19) was born just a year later.

Taking many different forms, Juneteenth is celebrated every year in recognition of the formal end of slavery in the United States and to honor the culture and contributions of Black Americans throughout history. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a law making Juneteenth a federal holiday, which is also recognized by the brewery.

Juneteenth Weekend at the Eccentric Café

We will be hosting an event at the Eccentric Café on Sunday, June 18, from 12-5 p.m.

Bell’s and The Gilmore are collaborating to present a Juneteenth celebration on Sunday, June 18 from 12-5 p.m. in the Bell’s Beer Garden. Come enjoy family friendly activities including lawn games, historical displays, coloring and books for kids, plus entertainment. Seneca Village, a Black IPA created by a committee of Black and African American coworkers at Bell’s, will also be featured on tap.

This is a FREE community event – no ticket required.


1-3:30 PM | DJ Disobedience presents Classically Black wsg Brandon Fitzpatrick

Enjoy a curated show of Black classical music icons and edgy emerging artists, spun by Kalamazoo’s own DJ Disobedience, along with a special guest – pianist Brandon Fitzpatrick of Battle Creek’s jazz fusion band Minor Element.

As DJ Disobedience, Dr. Michelle S. Johnson writes and co-produces the podcast series Syncopate featuring Black Resorting in Southwest Michigan and Raising Hay. As host of the Slip Back Soul Show at 89.1 WIDR on Saturdays 11-1 p.m. for 15 years before the pandemic, Dr. Johnson co-founded and DJ’d for Fire’s one-time Fire Radio and WMBM/Syncopate web stations.



Born and raised in Detroit, BLKBOK (born Charles Wilson III) grew up in a music-filled house, and, by the time he was 8, was winning statewide accolades and competitions. Charles chose the name BLKBOK – an apt reflection of the elements that have contributed to the artist’s identity that symbolizes his colorful journey from pop and hip-hop culture to his critically acclaimed, neo-classical debut album Black Book.

BLKBOK’s high-energy live performance is culturally reflective and seeks to entertain with a live piano-based performance like none you have ever seen before. BLKBOK’s vision is to raise awareness for all, encouraging dialogue and counterpoint in the way we perceive ourselves and the world we live in together. Listen to this great interview with BLKBOK on WMUK.

For more info, check out our Facebook event.

Seneca Village release

We will also be releasing Seneca Village, a Black IPA conceived and first brewed by our Black and African American coworkers. First released in 2021, Seneca Village pays tribute to the flourishing 19th century African American settlement in New York City that was demolished to build Central Park. Bell’s coworkers wanted to bring awareness to a hidden part of our shared history to highlight the work we must do to acknowledge our past and help guide our future.

Seneca Village will be available on tap at the Eccentric Café and in six packs at the General Store.

As we celebrate this weekend, we also acknowledge there’s lots of work yet to do in making our communities – in craft beer and in our society more broadly – truly inclusive and welcoming to all. We will continue to invest in efforts to address race-based and other forms of discrimination wherever craft beer is poured.

We hope you join us and participate in events in your community and support organizations that celebrate, honor, and amplify the voices of Black Americans.

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