Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Liberation Day or Emancipation, is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the United States and marks our country’s second Independence Day.
In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared slaves living in the Confederate states to be free. However, news that slavery was abolished did not reach the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865, over two years after the emancipation proclamation was signed. In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday, and as of today 49 other states observe Juneteenth.
We commemorate June 19 as the day slaves were truly set free and celebrate our African-American community members, and commit to working together toward equity for all in expanding economic, educational, and career opportunities for everyone in our community.
June 20, 2022 Event: Why Juneteenth is an American Holiday
The City and its newly created Equity Board, in partnership with the Baha'i's of Issaquah, hosted an in-person educational community event, featuring Mr. Delbert Richardson, owner/curator of the national award winning American History Traveling Museum - The “Unspoken” Truths.
Missed the event? Watch the video below!
June 10 and 13: Delbert Richardson’s The American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths Mr. Delbert Richardson, owner/curator, will be presenting the National Award Winning American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths in-person at Bellevue City Hall. There will be three opportunities to hear Mr. Delbert.
June 15: EastHUB’s Structural Racism in the Arts: A Lens on Racist Policies in the Arts Community (virtual) EastHUB is hosting a virtual workshop exploring how racism has influenced art and artists, presented by Michael Bobbitt and Jazmyn Scott.
June 17-19: Juneteenth Celebration at Othello Park is a three day event presented by American Medical Student Association (AMSA) will have free activities, performers, music, food, COVID vaccines and much more.
June 18: Free Juneteenth celebration in Kent City of Kent is hosting an event featuring vendors, games and kids activities, reading of the Proclamation, story-telling, singing, dancing, and more.
June 19: Juneteenth and Community Health Fair sponsored by the Pacific Hospital PDA partner with Atlantic Street Center and the Rainier Beach Community Center to commemorate a health-conscience Juneteenth with free food and activities for kids.
June 13: Juneteenth and the Transformative Power of Time hosted by the American Family Insurance DreamBank is proud to welcome Xernona Clayton, Founder, President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation Inc., as she invites you into an intimate conversation around the evolution of Juneteenth.
June 16: FAMILY: Honoring Juneteenth Through Music Create a colorful tambourine craft in remembrance of Juneteenth. Follow along with Dream Curators Kerterika and Andy as they guide you step-by-step through the artistic process and explain the beauty and importance of music and dance that goes along with this important commemoration! Supplied needed.
June 20: A Conversation with Opal Lee: The Grandmother of Juneteenth join a virtual event for a special conversation with Ms. Opal Lee, the grandmother of Juneteenth. Ms. Lee will share her story of advocacy to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Picture books to enjoy with children of all ages to learn and celebrate Juneteenth.
- Big Papa and the Time Machine by Daniel Bernstrom
- Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon
- Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy
- Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
- Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Juneteenth: A Children’s Story by Opal Lee
- Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
- Raven The Great: What is Juneteenth? by Dr. Paulette McClain
- All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson
- Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story by Valerie Wesley
The King County Library has curated a reading list commemorating Juneteenth.
Read books about Juneteenth:
- Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom by Charles A. Talyor
- On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
- Let’s Celebrate Emancipation Day and Juneteenth by Barbara Derubertis
- The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology by Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley
- Traditional African American Arts and Activities by Sonya Kimble-Ellis
- Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery by Deborah Willis
- Juneteenth: Freedom Day by Muriel Miller Branch
Read stories that honor the richness of Black American culture, heritage, legacy and freedom:
- A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib
- Black Girls Must Be Magic by Jayne Allen
- This Purpose of Power by Alicia Garza
- Hidden Black History by Amanda Jackson Green
- On Juneteenth by Annette Gorden-Reed
- We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates
- Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison
- The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
There are a number of movies and documentaries related to the holiday.
- PBS Series: Juneteenth Jamboree, which "illuminates the significance of the Juneteenth holiday and shares stories about black culture and history."
- Juneteenth: A Celebration of Overcoming
- 13th: Thought-provoking documentary where scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
- Just Mercy: Film based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson that focuses on the systematic racism in our society.
- When They See Us: Based on the true story about the Central Park five teens who were falsely accused of a brutal attack that made nationwide headlines.
- Selma: Based on the true story of Marin Luther King and the turmoil in Selma.