United States

Visit These Historical Places To Experience The True Essence Of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is celebrated every year on June 19. It is an official federal holiday celebrated in various ways across the US. Every place has its history of Juneteenth and can be best experienced when visiting there.

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Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, is observed every year across America to celebrate the end of slavery and beginning of true freedom. Observed on June 19, the day holds deep meaning for African Americans, who were enslaved in past and had no rights of their own.

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated in various ways in different states. These are some of the places that are historically significant for the day and hold wonderful celebrations to honor the struggles of their ancestors.

1. Galveston, Texas

 Historical Significance: Site of General Order No. 3 reading in June 1865.

Visitors can explore Galveston's history with a self-guided tour using the Freedom Walk Map, highlighting landmarks such as Pier 21 and Ashton Villa. For more on local Black history, Juneteenth and Beyond offers extensive tours, including sites like the Absolute Equality mural. Celebrations on June 15 include a parade, picnic, and the Juneteenth Festival with local vendors, food, and music.

On June 19, the 45th annual Juneteenth Proclamation reading at Ashton Villa, honoring Al Edwards, and enjoy Juneteenth Family Fun Day at Reedy Chapel AME with activities, music, and food. The Emancipation March includes a reenactment of the reading of General Order No. 3.

On June 21, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey will give a Juneteenth lecture at the Rosenberg Library.

2. Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas

Historical Significance: Activist Opal Lee's campaign for Juneteenth recognition.

The campaign to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday began in Fort Worth, led by activist Opal Lee. In May 2024, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Fort Worth and Dallas host various Juneteenth events in June. On June 19, the African American Museum of Dallas will feature Opal's Walk for Freedom, a 2.5-mile event with proceeds supporting the National Juneteenth Museum and Lee's educational efforts.

The Juneteenth Family Reunion Festival will be held at Panther Island Pavilion in Fort Worth from June 14 to 16, featuring musical performances, stage plays, amusement park rides, and a film festival. Dallas will host the 50th anniversary of the Juneteenth Festival on June 15, with a 4K freedom walk, vendors, and family-friendly activities.

3. Washington, D.C.

Historical Significance: Juneteenth celebrations and the city's own Emancipation Day.

On June 19, 1968, the Poor People's Campaign held a Solidarity Day rally on the National Mall. The city began celebrating Emancipation Day on April 16, 1862, when slavery was abolished in the District.

This year, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is hosting several Juneteenth events, including a Juneteenth Community Day on June 15 with free activities for families, and a discussion event with chef Bryant Terry and poet Kevin Young. The National Archives will display the original Emancipation Proclamation and General Order No. 3 from June 18 to 20, and host a Juneteenth Celebration with Playback Theater on June 18.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is showcasing "Fighters for Freedom: William H. Johnson Picturing Justice," and the Anacostia Community Museum will host a Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on June 19.

The fifth annual Juneteenth Half Marathon & 10K will take place on June 15 along the Civil War Defenses of Washington trail. Arena Stage is presenting "The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence" from June 7 to July 14.

4. Auburn, New York

Historical Significance: Home to Harriet Tubman.

In honor of Juneteenth, the Seward House Museum will offer free admission and guided tours on June 19 (reservations recommended). The city will also host a Juneteenth Celebration on June 15, featuring food trucks, local vendors, a downtown parade, kid-friendly activities, and live music at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.

The Miss Juneteenth Pageant will also be held at the center on the same day.

5. Montgomery, Alabama

Historical Significance: Birthplace of the civil rights movement.

The city features the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the Legacy Museum, and Freedom Monument Sculpture Park, collectively known as the Legacy Sites.

On June 19, the Legacy Sites will host a Juneteenth jazz concert at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre with performances by Wynton Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Samara Joy, and others.

 The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts will also host a Juneteenth event on June 15, including the exhibit "Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe," which runs until July 21.

6. Milwaukee

Historical Significance: Longtime resident Rev. Dr. Ronald Myers' activism.

Milwaukee hosts one of the oldest Juneteenth events in the U.S., started in 1971 by Margaret Rogers. Now in its 53rd year, the 2024 celebration themed "Our History, Our Culture, Our Village" attracts over 50,000 spectators.

The festivities include the Freedom Ball on June 14 with music, food, and a silent auction, and the Juneteenth Jubilee Parade and Festival on June 19, featuring floats, bands, dance groups, and a street festival. America's Black Holocaust Museum will have a weeklong celebration from June 18-22 with kids' programming, live music, and voter registration, culminating in the Juneteenth Gospel Festival on June 22.

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7. Atlanta

Historical Significance: Rich in civil rights history with notable residents like Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, and John Lewis.

The Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival takes place from June 21 to 23. There will be a parade on June 22 and festivities at Piedmont Park, including live music, games, and food. The Juneteenth Rodeo and Agricultural Expo is on June 19, and the 5K Freedom Run is on June 23.

The Atlanta History Center will celebrate Juneteenth on June 15, focusing on Black cuisine and baseball with cooking demonstrations, a kids' baseball clinic, storytelling, crafts, and wellness activities. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights' celebration runs from June 15 to 16 and June 19, featuring a scavenger hunt, quilt mural, Juneteenth flag making, and outdoor activities. The Children's Museum of Atlanta will have a Juneteenth program on June 18.

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On June 15, Oakland Cemetery will host a Juneteenth Family Festival with free tours, family-friendly activities, food, and a vendor market.

8. Baltimore

Historical Significance: Home to the largest free Black community in the 1860s.

For Juneteenth, Baltimore offers several music-centric events. The 47th annual AFRAM festival, starting June 22 at Druid Hill Park, features live music, fashion, and food. The Walters Art Museum will host a Juneteenth celebration performance on June 15.

On June 19, the B&O Railroad Museum offers a tour titled "Underground Railroad: Freedom Seekers on the B&O," and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum will host a daylong Juneteenth celebration with free admission, performances, artwork, and talks.

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9. Philadelphia

Historical Significance: Important stop on the Underground Railroad the site of the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Johnson House Historic Site, an Underground Railroad stop, will host its 18th annual Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival on June 15, featuring performances, vendors, food, and talks.

The Wawa Welcome America festival will begin its Independence Day countdown with Juneteenth celebrations at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, featuring performances by Kid 'n Play, Rich Medina, and Seraiah Nicole, a Juneteenth Block Party on June 19, and free museum admission with online registration.

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10. Little Rock, Arkansas

 Historical Significance: Recognition of Juneteenth Independence Day.

 In 2005, Arkansas recognized the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth Independence Day. Little Rock hosts several Juneteenth events, including the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center's annual Juneteenth in Da Rock street festival and 5K walk/run on June 15. The street festival features family-friendly activities, food, live entertainment, and exhibits like "In Rextropect" by artist Rex Deloney.

Also on June 15, the Juneteenth Arkansas Festival includes a parade, family activities, food, music, and vendors, making it the state's largest Juneteenth celebration.

11. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Historical Significance: 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and "Black Wall Street."

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In recent years, Tulsa has invested in projects like the Greenwood Rising museum to highlight the massacre and the resilience of the Greenwood community. The 1921 Black Wall Street Memorial honors the Black-owned businesses lost.

Visitors can take guided tours through organizations like the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, Tulsa Tours, and The Real Black Wall Street Tour.

The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival offers weeklong family activities starting June 8 with a fashion show. The main three-day festival, from June 13 to 15, features a block party, 5K and fun run, wellness classes, brunch, live music, workshops, and more.

12. Chicago

Historical Significance: Founded by Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, significant during the Great Migration.

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The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, the oldest independent African American history museum in the U.S., is hosting several events on June 19 for Juneteenth, including DuFarm with a petting zoo, a farmers market, Juneteenth 2024 Performances, and a roller rink event.

The fifth annual Juneteenth Village Fest, a free family-centric event, will also take place on June 15, with live music, food, kid-friendly activities, and carnival rides.

The Chicago African Diaspora International Film Festival will run from June 14 to 16.

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