On June 19, 1865, news of the Emancipation Proclamation began to reach enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, more than two years after it had been signed. On that day, the slaves of Texas were finally emancipated and allowed free.
Many Black Americans began to celebrate June 19 with local celebrations, songs, fairs, and food. While Black Americans have long honored the day, it took more than a century for the first state, Texas, to formally mark it.
Now, all states but two recognize June 19 and Juneteenth. An upcoming bill in the House of Representatives to make the day a national holiday would take it a step further, giving millions of federal workers a day off – the first time the US would add a federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr Day in 1983.
Washington was just the sixth state in the nation, and the first in the Northwest, to commit to observing Juneteenth as a paid day off for state employees.
Juneteenth is not only a holiday commemorating freedom, but also one of action, education, participation, and the continuation to fight for equity, access, and opportunity. Northwest Folklife honors the history and communities that Juneteenth recognizes, and are excited to amplify the incredible range of events and opportunities, both virtual and in-person that you can participate in and support.
We have created a compilation of both virtual and in person celebrations of Juneteenth and some resources to further educate yourself on the event. These programs are offered from the Seattle local area and nationally.
The Northwest African American Museum also features robust programming and volunteer opportunities all week for Juneteenth, so check them out!
Local Events and Opportunities
|It Takes a Village — Juneteenth Festival — We Out Here 2021 (weouthereseattle.com)||SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 2021 From 11:00 AM To 5:00 PM||OTHELLO PARK - 4351 S OTHELLO ST, SEATTLE||Juneteenth by It Takes a Village creates a unique, annual event space to celebrate the Black community and learn about the Black experience while sharing in the diversity of culture that makes up our neighborhoods, connecting people to services and resources they need to live their best lives while enjoying a day spent in and with community, sharing food, ideas, goods, and more.||https://www.weouthereseattle.com/2021-calendar/it-takes-a-village-juneteenth-festival/2021/6/19/it-takes-a-village-juneteenth-festival|
|MOHAI — 1619: Resistance / Resilience / Remembrance||Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 2 pm||VIRTUAL||Celebrate Juneteenth with a special storytelling-hour featuring Mr. Delbert Richardson. During this hour, Mr. Richardson will highlight the resistance of his ancestors during the periods of American chattel slavery and Jim Crow, as well as focus on the resilience of Black brilliance. This online program draws from sections of the national award-winning American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths, which will be on display at MOHAI from June 18 through June 21, 2021.||https://mohai.org/event/1619-resistance-resilience-remembrance/|
|Upcoming Juneteenth Events in Mukilteo, WA (stayhappening.com)||SAT JUN 19 2021 AT 10:00 AM TO 07:00 PM||Forest Park Everett, Wa. | Mukilteo||Join us as we fight with Miss Opal Lee to make Juneteenth a National Holiday , and celebrate the freedom of our ancestors. We will have Black Owned food vendors, good music, giant yard games and more to celebrate our freedom.||https://stayhappening.com/mukilteo--juneteenth|
|Blackout Healing Presents Juneteenth Yes Farm Kick Back — We Out Here 2021 (weouthereseattle.com)||SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 2021 from 2:30 PM 8:00 PM||YES FARM, 727 YESLER WAYSEATTLE, WA, 98104||This event is open to all Black identified folks of all ages and genders in celebration of our day of freedom. Music and Kick back from 3-6pm. 2:30 pm Welcome/ Orientation to Blackstar farmers and Yes Farm with Hannah Wilson 3:30 pm Healing Art with Aramis Hamer 5:00 pm Dinner by Mulu 6:00 pm Deep Roots: A Healing Ritual with Victoria Santos 8:00pm Close||https://www.weouthereseattle.com/2021-calendar/blackout-healing-presents-juneteenth-yes-farm-kick-back/2021/6/19/blackout-healing-presents-juneteenth-yes-farm-kick-back|
|Juneteenth: None of us is free until all of us are free (facebook.com)||SATURDAY, JUNE 19 at @ 10am||Green Lake||Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth Independence Day, is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States observed annually on June 19th. Join us at Green Lake for a sign wave and picnic on SATURDAY, JUNE 19 at @ 10am in Seattle, WA||https://m.facebook.com/events/2912165939039349?acontext=%7B%22action_history%22%3A%22%5B%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22page%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22main_list%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A%5B%5D%7D%5D%22%7D&aref=0|
|Juneteenth Celebration – Global Grub & Groove – Issaquah Highlands||FRIDAY, JUNE 19 @ 6 - 8 PM||VILLAGE GREEN, ISSAQUAH||We are excited for our first “Global Grub & Groove” event celebrating community and culture with food trucks and live music! Our first in the series is in celebration of Juneteenth to honor our African American neighbors. Bring your blanket or lawn chairs and join us at Village Green for live music by Michael Powers and delicious food from C. Davis Texas BBQ! The event is free to attend. Food is for purchase.||https://www.issaquahhighlands.com/event/juneteenth-celebration-global-grub-groove/|
|Niles Edge Presents “No Healing, No Peace!” A Walking Meditation for Black Liberation — We Out Here 2021 (weouthereseattle.com)||SATURDAY JUNE 19 @ 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM||MLK JR. MEMORIAL PARK, 2200 MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR WAY SOUTH, SEATTLE, WA, 98144||Join Nile’s Edge Healing Arts on June 19th, 2021 for a guided walking meditation in Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Memorial Park (2200 MLK Jr. Way S., Seattle, WA) from 10am-1pm. This meditation is to provide participants a moment of reflection, grounding, and spiritual awareness around Juneteenth and the resilience of Black people in America.||https://www.weouthereseattle.com/2021-calendar/niles-edge-presents-morning-meditation/2021/6/19/niles-edge-presents-morning-meditation|
|Juneteenth Week: 2021 Artist Collective||7:00 PM - 8:30 PM||VIRTUAL||Juneteenth Week: 2021 Artist Collective|
7:00 PM 8:30 PM
Juneteenth honors and celebrates the emancipation of the enslaved people in the United States. The Diversity, Equality, and Inclusivity Committee of the Space Needle & Chihuly Garden and Glass, alongside the Northwest African American Museum, One Vibe Africa, and Wa Na Wari, are celebrating this day by raising the voices of Black and African American artists in an Artist Collective broadcast premiering on Friday, June 18.
|Juneteenth Week: Jamboree||6/19/2021 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM||Judkins Park - 2150 South Norman StreetSeattle, WA, 98144United States||NAAM and Rec'N The Streets (City of Seattle Parks & Rec) present the Juneteenth Jamboree! Full of family fun, recreation, and activity from local professional sports teams, this will be a Juneteenth you won't forget!||https://www.naamnw.org/events/juneteenth-jamboree|
|Africatown-Central District and King County Equity Now Freedom March & People's Assembly||SATURDAY JUNE 19 AND SUNDAY 6/20 AT 1 PM||22ND AND MADISON||We are hosting a New Orleans style, Black freedom parade starting at 1pm on 22rd and Madison. Black 2021 graduates, an all-Black drumline, and a Black elder caravan will lead the parade through the Central District - Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood. Community leaders will point out historic markers and pay homage to the many Black entrepreneurs and leaders, including William Grose, who helped build the Black enclave. The march will culminate at Jimi Hendrix Park for a celebration and will include performances by Sevyn Streeter and more.||https://www.kingcountyequitynow.com/juneteenth21|
|GIVE BLACK WA||We are a collective of Black organizations unifying for the liberation of all Black people. Black people are multi talented and multi fabulous, and we show up at various intersections of being, including but not limited to Immigrant, Trans, Gender Non Binary and Non Conforming, faith lineages, LGBTQIA, family structures, ability, and levels of wealth or poverty.||https://giveblackwashington.wixsite.com/giveblackwashington|
National Events and Opportunities
|Description of Activity||Organization||To Sign Up|
|Smithsonian Digital Volunteers: Freedmen’s Bureau Project. Volunteer opportunity to help transcribe handwritten records from the Freedman’s Bureau. In addition to helping make these records accessible online for the public, volunteers will have the opportunity to learn more about the experiences of formerly enslaved men and women in the Washington, D.C., area during the Reconstruction Era.||Smithsonian Digital Volunteers:
Transcription Center-Freedmen’s Bureau Project
|Click here to volunteer|
|Freedom Calling: Interactive Tour with Founding Director Lonnie Bunch III, a tour through the Slavery and Freedom exhibition specifically to celebrate Juneteenth.||National Museum of African American History and Culture||Click here to view|
|The NMAAHC Collection: An incredible virtual collection on a variety of topics to explore.||National Museum of African American History and Culture||Click here to view|
|“Explore More!”: An additional virtual NMAAHC collection using Google 3D photography technology to virtually see and explore historical objects and artifacts.||National Museum of African American History and Culture||Click here to view|
|Rendering Justice Virtual Tour: Dejay Duckett, Director of Curatorial Services, leads a virtual tour of the Rendering Justice exhibition with Curator Jesse Krimes. The exhibition features art by and about incarcerated individuals.||African American Museum in Philadelphia||Click here to view|
|Slavery Narratives - Museum of the African Diaspora notes: The enslavement of the African peoples, the transatlantic slave trade, and the plantation system that followed initiated the largest sustained commercial trading of human beings in history. Some scholars estimate that more than 20 million Africans were transported to the New World. The few slave narratives that are presented in this exhibit reflect only a fraction of the millions upon millions of stories that could have been told by people who had the misfortune to toil under the yoke of slavery.||Museum of the African Diaspora (moadsf.org)||Click here to view|
|Monumental Reckoning - With Illuminate and See Black Womyn, Museum of the African Diaspora will co-present Monumental Reckoning, an art installation in Golden Gate Park commemorating the 350 enslaved Africans who arrived in the Americas in 1619.||Museum of the African Diaspora (moadsf.org)||Click here to view|
|Roundtable|Rock ‘n’ Roll Heretics: Shredding While Black and Female - This multigenerational dialogue will highlight the intersectional journeys of Black women guitarists in rock, literature, and music education. Drawing from Sikivu Hutchinson’s new Black feminist road novel, Rock ‘n’ Roll Heretic: The Life and Times of Rory Tharpe, the discussion will explore Black women rockers’ perspectives on confronting racism/sexism/ageism and homophobia in corporate rock, defying cultural and gender expectations in the Black community, honoring unsung Black rock heroines, and lifting up Gen Z Black girl rock musicians.||Museum of the African Diaspora (moadsf.org)||Click here to view|
|Lecture and Demonstration| A Celebration of African American Social Dances with Traci Bartlow - Let's celebrate Juneteenth with dance! In this two-hour workshop, we will move through time from West Africa to the Harlem Renaissance and through the New Millennium to celebrate the rich heritage of African American social dances! This event is facilitated by cultural archivist Traci Bartlow and will intersperse lecture and movement from different eras. Come ready to dance as we celebrate Juneteenth and honor the health, vitality, and wellness of our bodies and community while paying homage to African American dance traditions.||Museum of the African Diaspora (moadsf.org)||Click here to view|
|“Juneteenth and the Blues” with Marcus Shelby – “Juneteenth and the Blues” will be an hour-long presentation and discussion by composer, bassist, and bandleader Marcus Shelby about the importance and historical significance of Juneteenth in Black American culture. The presentation will include music, readings, poetry, and observations on the legacy of June 19, 1865—the date Africans in Galveston, Texas, were freed long after the Emancipation Proclamation. Marcus Anthony Shelby is a composer, bassist, bandleader, and educator who currently lives in San Francisco. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education.||Museum of the African Diaspora (moadsf.org)||https://www.facebook.com/events/843785799478854/|
Suggested Documentaries and Readings
|High on the Hog||This documentary discusses the origins of “soul food” and its importance and contributions to “fine dining.” It also provides a provocative lesson on Black history and touches on the roots of Juneteenth.||Netflix|
|13th||In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.||Netflix|
|A Time to Be Remembered (A Juneteenth Story)||This is a documentary film about slavery in America and the people and events that led to slavery's abolition. Included in the film is the history of famous real people and events involved in the anti-slavery movement; like Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, Dred Scott, and the song "Amazing Grace" which was written by John Newton, a former slave ship captain turned minister||Apple TV|
|History of Juneteenth||Presented by Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott Wednesday, June 19, at the Allen Public Library. Her program traces the history of Juneteenth events from the late nineteenth century freedmen colonys'' and settlements' celebrations to the present community events.||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIi_53jihMM|
|Juneteenth: The Significance of June 19||By coincidence, several momentous events in the history of American Civil Rights have occurred on or near June 19. James A. Garfield National Historic Site Manager Todd Arrington takes you on a tour of the most important Juneteenths in our nation's history.||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G54oVSAmsB8|
|Surviving the Tulsa Race Massacre: Voices of Resistance Then and Now||Please join us for this presentation and discussion. Hear from survivors of the Tulsa Massacre in their own words including the Late John Hope Franklin and the late Olivia Hooker, along with Filmmaker and Historian Brittney Cooper, Scholar and Researcher John Whittington Franklin, and Historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, ASALH National President as we remember this||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrQS2iS0DE0|
|LIVE: The Meaning of Juneteenth||We're talking live with Salamishah Tillet, Professor of African American Studies, Rutgers University, and Ianne Fields Stewart, founder of The Okra Project, about what Juneteenth really means.||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztktjmTEebo|