How to commemorate Juneteenth in North Carolina this year

Each year on June 19, Juneteenth celebrates independence, emancipation, and freedom—this time for the whole country—as the date marks the day in 1865 when federal soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to bring news about and enforce the emancipation of the enslaved population in the country.

On this day 157 years ago, Texas became the last Confederate state to end slavery in the United States, marking this day as a celebration of freedom for decades to come. Now, over a century later, it is just as essential to recognize this historic day and celebrate how far we have come as a country, while educating ourselves on the struggles, both historical and current, that African Americans have gone through to make it to this point.

As the decades have passed, Juneteenth celebrations have evolved. According to an article on the history of the holiday by the Ashe Post and Times, “as people fanned out across the country, they took Juneteenth celebrations along with them. Formerly enslaved people and their descendants also made yearly pilgrimages back to Galveston to memorialize the date’s significance.”

While Juneteenth was not recognized as a federal holiday until 2021, communities across the country have been recognizing and celebrating this special day since the first Juneteenth in 1865.

“Sunday will mark the second anniversary of Juneteenth being recognized as a U.S. federal holiday. This recognition acknowledges that the experiences of the enslaved and their descendants is an integral part of American history,” Chief Diversity Officer Charles Gibson III said. “While it is impossible to ever know the full story, it is important to learn and share as much of it as possible. This Juneteenth, may we all renew our commitment to work toward a more peaceful, free, informed and just world.”

It is important to keep these principals in mind during Juneteenth celebrations and every day. Today, instead of going back to Texas, these celebrations often include worship services, musical performances, family gatherings, and potlucks right at home.

Here’s how to celebrate Juneteenth in North Carolina this year:

June 16−19

June 18

June 19

Learn more about the history of Juneteenth in North Carolina and across the country at the resources below:

The History of Juneteenth – The North Carolina Museum of History

What is North Carolina’s “Juneteenth” story? – NC African American Heritage Commission

The history and significance of Juneteenth – Ashe Post & Times

By Maya JarrellJune 16, 2022