On Friday, June 19, Juneteenth will be celebrated across the country. On this day in 1865, slavery ended in Texas. According to Juneteenth.com, Union Major General Gordon Granger traveled to Galveston, Texas "with news that the [Civil] war had ended and that the enslaved were already free." Those enslaved in other regions had already been freed, yet the announcement in Texas occured more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Thus, June 19 became a symbolic day to honor the freedom of all enslaved.
Juneteenth celebrations have taken on even more significance as protests across the world decry systemic racism and police brutality after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and most recently, Rayshard Brooks, among many others.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mark Anthony Neal, an African-American studies scholar at Duke University, said:
“Many African-Africans, black Americans, feel as though this is the first time in a long time that they have been heard in a way across the culture...I think Juneteenth feels a little different now,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for folks to kind catch their breath about what has been this incredible pace of change and shifting that we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.”
This year, many Juneteenth celebrations will be held online as we continue to shelter in place due to the global pandemic. If you are interested in learning more about Juneteenth and participating in a virtual celebration, check out the following resources and events online. Planning on attending an event in-person? Be sure to follow all social distancing and health protocols!
- This is How We Juneteenth via The New York Times
- Juneteenth Presentation | Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era -- via Zoom, Free admission
- San Francisco Juneteenth: A mix of online and in-person events.
- 14 Juneteenth Events In and Around the Bay Area
- Juneteenth Music Festival featuring Jazzy Jeff
- 25 Books for Kids and Adults to Celebrate Juneteenth and Reflect on History of Slavery