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How Do You Celebrate Juneteenth?

Learn More About The Holiday And How Different Communities Celebrate

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Texas Juneteenth Day Celebration, 1900 (Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)
June 19, 2019
By Beatrice Alvarez

Juneteenth is the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the confederate states. The word "Juneteenth" is a combination of "June" and "nineteenth," which is the day in 1865 when the Union Army established authority over Texas. It was the date that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the freed slaves in one of the furthest edges of the Union at the time. Although the annual celebration began there, it is widely recognized in communities across the United States. Celebrations are as varied as our individual experiences, but they share the same message of freedom's joy at heart.

Learn About The History In This Moment

Go back in time to June 19, 1865 and meet Union Army Major General Gordon Granger. One of his responsibilities was to carry the news of the Emancipation Proclamation the entire United State of America. Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote about Juneteenth, its history and its evolution, as part of the The African-Americans: Many Rivers To Cross website (remember that amazing series?) but his article remains relevant today.

Talking About Juneteenth With Our Children

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PBS Learning Media has an "All About The Holidays" video to share with school-age children about Juneteenth. In some cities kids have been attending Juneteenth events in their neighborhoods since the womb, but this video is great for kids who might not have heard of the holiday. Educators looking for classroom resources and related content can find it all in one place here.

Decades-Old Tradition in Denver, Colorado

From Colorado Public Television (CPT12) in Denver, Colorado we visit a Juneteenth celebration that hits all the right notes. Street Level goes to Welton Street, where community members have been coming together for decades to celebrate culture and connect with history.

Celebrate By Honoring Harriet Tubman In Auburn, New York

From Thirteen in New York, New York, MetroFocus travels to Harriet Tubman's home in Auburn, NY, to acknowledge her life's work. She ran the Underground Railroad to help people be free, to escape from slavery. Tubman purchased this home in Auburn in 1858 and lived there until it became her final resting place.

Music Tells The Story In Detroit, Michigan

The latest episode of American Black Journal (from Detroit Public Television in Detroit, Michigan) featured the Juneteenth celebration at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. As one might expect from Motown, music is the centerpiece at this Detroit celebration. Award-winning jazz musician Robert Hurst reflects on how he translated the experiences of enslaved African-Americans in music during the second half of the episode.

Discussing Juneteenth In A Larger Historical Context In Chicago, Illinois

Celebrating Juneteenth In The Face Of Displacement In Berkeley, California

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Berkeley Juneteenth Celebration (Liliana Michelena/KQED)
KQED in San Francisco, California has photos from Berkeley's Juneteenth festival. It has been held annually since 1986 (save once in 2008) and has come to commemorate not only black history and traditions, but also the preservation of community in light of increasing displacement.

It's A Juneteenth Jamboree in Austin, Texas

Every year, KLRU in Austin, Texas, teaches us something new with their Juneteenth Jamboree. Take a look at some highlights from past years. And if you have time to enjoy even more learning, watch past episodes here.
Where did you first learn about Juneteenth? Is it celebrated in your community? Maybe your local festivities look like one of these cities. Either way, we wish you a Happy Juneteenth!

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