This Sunday is Juneteenth, a historically significant event in American history that marks the official end of slavery in the United States. While Juneteenth (which took place on June 19, 1865) is a joyous commemoration, its backstory is a bittersweet one. The day saw federal troops land in Galveston, Texas, where they announced that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. The problem? The news had been made official two years prior, following President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. But enslaved Texans were not made aware until later, on what is now known as Juneteenth.
There are different theories to support the discrepancy, and while there isn't one definitive answer, one thing’s for sure: Juneteenth, aka "Freedom Day" and "Emancipation Day," should be celebrated.
HOW CAN WE COMMEMORATE JUNETEENTH?
On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill into law making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth is a day dedicated to educating yourself on Black history. This is especially true for those who don't identify as Black. Non-Black individuals will never be able to fully grasp the Black experience, but taking the time to read, listen and learn is key to becoming a productive ally. The holiday is also reserved for celebrating African-American culture.
Ready to celebrate? Here’s how major cities across the country are celebrating the day. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of the celebrations, so to find something near you, check your city’s event calendar. You can also support your favorite local Black-owned businesses on Juneteenth (and every day.)
Choose Chicago has rounded up a full list of museums, celebrations, businesses to support and more.
Juneteenth Parade: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Juneteenth Park Festival:12:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Rosewood & Boggy Creek Park
Dallas Juneteenth Festival: 1 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
I AM JUNETEENTH Festival: 10 a.m.
Vital Note: Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth.
Vital Note: More statewide Texas celebrations can be found here.
Tulsa Juneteenth Festival: June 16 –18
Celebrate the Freedom Day: June 19, 2 p.m.–7 p.m.
Los Angeles, California
Juneteenth Art X Cultural Festival: June 19, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
New York City
Juneteenth NY: June 17–19
History Social: Learn about the history of Juneteenth and the holiday's legacy. June 16, 6 p.m.
Juneteenth Parade and Festival: June 19, 10 a.m.Vital Note: More Philadelphia celebrations can be found here and statewide Pennsylvania celebrations can be found here.