Recognizing Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” is being celebrated this Friday, June 19, across the nation to commemorate the end of legalized slavery in this country. The holiday received its name by combining “June” and “nineteenth.”

Juneteenth recognizes the date of June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to inform slaves of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. This date is profoundly significant because the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln two and a half years earlier, on January 1, 1863. Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865—just over two months prior to the Galveston announcement, known as General Orders, No. 3.

Below are links to various insightful resources, including articles, books, and events that you can virtually attend, to learn more about and celebrate Juneteenth. 

We encourage our colleagues and friends to review these resources and reflect on the ongoing history of systemic racial injustice and how it continues to manifest in our society, as we further elevate these important and necessary conversations.


Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resilience

Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, to gather as a family, to reflect on the past and look to the future. We invite you to engage in your history, learn where you came from, and discover (or share) ways to celebrate this holiday. On this day we are bringing the Museum to you through presentations, stories, photographs, and recipes from the Sweet Home Café.   

We hope you join us to:  

  • Listen to Lift Every Voice and Sing sung by renowned vocalist Rochelle Rice  
  • Discover how to trace your ancestors in a workshop presented by the Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center  
  • Enjoy presentations about the history and significance of Juneteenth  
  • Hear a tale that celebrates the wisdom of the elders as told by acclaimed storyteller Diane Macklin 

Juneteenth Multi-Museum Virtual Celebration

On June 19, 2020, six leading Black museums and historical institutions from coast to coast will launch, a digital commemoration of Juneteenth, the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was officially enforced, ending enslavement in Texas.




  • Juneteenth Activities (Chicago Tribune)
  • The Free Black Children’s Library: To continue its mission of engaging black children with activism and social justice through art and literature, Brown Books and Paintbrushes created this summer pop-up series to accept donations of children’s books featuring black authors and illustrators. The series, which was inspired by The Free Black Women’s Library, is slated to start Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Harold Washington Cultural Center. Watch the organization’s Instagram page for more announcements and details.
  • A New Freedom: Black Voices Honoring Juneteenth in a Time of Struggle Hosted by the renowned Chicago Children’s Choir, this free online concert will feature music and spoken word performances from black CCC alumni. The concert can be livestreamed on the choir’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel on Friday at 6 p.m.
  • Virtual Juneteenth Journey Through African American History and Forum: This virtual experience will explore major moments in African American history and showcase live performers. It will also include a forum to discuss the current movement. Monetary donations of your choice are required to receive event information. Friday at 6:00 p.m. Get tickets on Eventbrite here.
  • Black Lives Matter Radio: Tune in to WVON 1690 AM from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday and listen to Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, the lead pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Washington Heights, take over the station with special guests, ranging from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to author and professor Michael Eric Dyson. Topics and guests will change every hour.



  • Juneteenth Music Festival: A virtual celebration of global freedom features the Dream Big Awards highlighting individuals who have made a positive impact in our community. In between awardee interviews see musical performances, live podcasts, a virtual dance competition, comedy, financial literacy segments, and more. Find it live at
  • Juneteenth Celebration: Children’s Day at the Museum: Children can learn about the history of Juneteenth and the Emancipation Proclamation through educational activities, book readings and video talks. Search for “Children’s Day at the Museum” on Eventbrite to reserve your free ticket for access to activities and videos. 10:00 a.m. Friday.
  • Juneteenth Storytelling Open Mic: Celebrate Juneteenth with a night of stories as storytellers share fiction and nonfiction exploring the themes of hope, freedom, family, community and home. Shares must be five minutes or less. Register on for a Zoom ID and Facebook information. Free. 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday. 

New York:



New Jersey:

  • YWCA Princeton: Join YWCA Princeton for a virtual screening of Ava DuVernay’s groundbreaking film, 13th. The documentary explores the historical racial inequity in the United States that has led to mass incarceration, and a prison system that is disproportionately filled with African Americans. Click here for more resources and ways to stand against racism. Register Here 
  • Maplewood Township: This year the Township will hold its Juneteenth celebration on Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the event will be conducted through an online forum hosted by Mayor Frank McGehee and other members of the Maplewood Township Committee. McGehee says the forum will be centered around “awareness, action, and giving an opportunity for all people (but especially black people) to discuss racial challenges that are laying beneath the surface.” The event, appropriately named “From Awareness to Action,” will also be available through a livestream on the township’s YouTube channel. Those who wish to participate in the celebration should register in advance; information can be found on the Township of Maplewood’s website