Celebrating Juneteenth, the Day Slavery Ended

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-06-09 09:00:52  • 8 mins

Juneteenth will be commemorated across the United States on June 19 with music, art, food and fireworks. We highlight programs in five places, including Galveston, Texas, known as the birthplace of the holiday.

Although the celebration of Juneteenth, which commemorates June 19, 1865, as the end of slavery, has gained popularity in recent years, its long been a deeply personal holiday acknowledged by many African American families and communities. My family was one of them. Our house was decorated with portraits of my fathers hero, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who scandalized the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society when he delivered the famous speech What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? in 1852. For the ancestors of Black Americans, freedom did not occur on July 4, 1776, but nearly 90 years later.

After Black Americans decades-long struggle to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in 2021. Since then, celebrations have grown across the country in the form of concerts, parades, educational programming and festivals. Below are five places to visit this long Juneteenth weekend, with activities scheduled from June 16 to 19.

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