The Entertainment Weekend Recap: June 19th
Being “free” can take on different meanings for different people. In the case of the enslaved community, freedom did not come for them on July 4th; rather, it came on June 19, 1865. An estimated 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, where they announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free by executive decree.
Since 1865 this day has become known as “Juneteenth,” and President Joe Biden made it a national holiday in 2021. Thousands of people across the country enjoy the holiday and there are a plethora of celebrations taking place to mark the occasion.
Here are five major Juneteenth Events!
- One place sure to be rich in Juneteenth spirit is Galveston, Texas – the birthplace of the holiday. Attendees gathered for an Emancipation Gospel Celebration hosted by the Juneteenth Legacy Project, as well as the Galveston Juneteenth Festival and Juneteenth Parade and Picnic. The festivities will continue on Monday as the city hosts its 44th annual reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
- If Galveston is out of reach, there are celebrations happening in other cities. One of those cities includes Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has its own historic roots. The annual Tulsa Juneteenth Festival was held on the historical Greenwood Avenue. Activities were held for three days, including a kickoff party, live performance, a Black Wall Street pitch competition, a 5K run and more.
- Like Tulsa and Galveston, Philadelphia is also home to epic Juneteenth celebrations. The Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival was started by the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Initiative. The first Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival took place on June 18, 2016, and has since evolved into an event attended by more than 25,000 attendees. Events in Philadelphia started on June 10th with a “Miss Juneteenth Pagent.” However, the parade, marketplace for vendors and shoppers and a musical festival were held on Sunday.
- Juneteenth enthusiasts can head to the nation’s capitol for celebrations. The National Museum of African American History and Culture hosted a Juneteenth Community Day on Saturday. Visitors were able to tour the museum grounds, take part in African drumming workshops and create their own art. In addition to the museum’s community day, the Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival hosted a Freedom Day concert on Sunday, which featured a performance by Wyclef Jean.
- For those in the New York City area, Juneteenth activities will also be taking place. The nonprofit organization Juneteenth NYC hosted its 14th annual festival from Friday to Sunday. Festival goers were able to take part in an array of family activities, vendors, history lessons, music, dance, poetry and more. This year’s theme was “Kaleidoscope of Black Culture,” and more than 20,000 people were present to celebrate.