Especially after the events of the last year, Juneteenth has taken on a renewed importance. Are you looking for ways to recognize this important holiday? Here are some suggestions.
What Is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday, held on June 19th, commemorates June 19, 1865. On that date, union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and Union Army General Gordon Granger officially announced all slaves were free. This timeline is a bit confusing since President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation outlawed slavery on September 22, 1862. Unfortunately, enforcement was slow during the Civil War. And in fact, a few border states continued to practice slavery up until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 6, 1865. Today, Juneteenth is considered a Day of Jubilee. Communities celebrate African American culture, traditions, and contributions and continue to raise awareness for the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
Juneteenth Events in Atlanta
- Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival
Atlanta’s premier Juneteenth Festival features everything from a parade to an artist’s market to children’s activities. Admission is free! Like other major events, this year’s celebration may be limited by COVID restrictions. To stay up to date on the latest developments, visit juneteenthatl.com.
- A Juneteenth Celebration of Black Excellence
This June 19th event highlights arts, entertainment, and businesses in the black community. Enjoy performances, support local vendors, and receive a free drink with admission. Tickets cost $15.
Other Ideas for Honoring Juneteenth
If you’d prefer a quieter Juneteenth this year, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate in smaller groups and/or at home.
- Savor a Special Meal/Treat
Juneteenth is famous for BBQ. However, if you’re looking for something simpler, strawberry soda-pop is another longstanding tradition. Or support your favorite local black-owned restaurant by ordering in or eating out.
- Appreciate African American Arts
June is Black Music Month. Simply search “black music month playlists” for a variety of options. This also is a wonderful time to appreciate famous black authors and artists.
- Host a Movie Night
Films and shows focusing on black history and culture can educate everyone about the importance of this holiday. If you’re not sure what to choose, explore TV Guide’s movies and TV shows to watch in celebration of Juneteenth. USA Today has a list of great movies by black filmmakers too.
- Visit a Historic Site or Museum
Many museums feature special exhibits in honor of Juneteenth. Look for local as well as virtual possibilities. In addition, The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is one of Atlanta’s top tourist destinations. This site includes a visitor center, outdoor exhibits, and guided tours of King’s birth home. Although the campus is open, buildings may be closed due to COVID restrictions. Therefore, be sure to check the National Park Service website before planning your trip.
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