Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, its history has been — until recently — little known to the wider public. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is excited to mark this important day with the virtual event “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resilience” this Friday, June 19.
You are invited to join this online event at any time on Friday, and then design your own celebration through online experiences, activities, and videos. You can:
Enjoy prerecorded presentations about the history and significance of Juneteenth, including a virtual tour of NMAAHC’s “Freedom’s Promise” exhibit with Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch, the Founding Director of the Museum
Listen to a performance of the iconic anthem Lift Every Voice and Sing by renowned vocalist Rochelle Rice
Create a Juneteenth menu based on recipes in the Sweet Home Café Cookbook
Discover how to trace your ancestors in a workshop presented by the Museum's Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center
Design your own Juneteenth banner
Hear an African American folk tale told by renowned storyteller Diane Macklin
Tune in online any time this Friday, June 19, to celebrate Juneteenth safely from your home.
What is Juneteenth?
Although the Emancipation Proclamation officially took effect on January 1, 1863, freedom did not immediately come for all enslaved people because Confederate-controlled states refused to implement it. Freedom finally came nationally on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas.
Take a virtual tour
You can learn more about Juneteenth on a virtual tour through an virtual online exhibition right now from home! Discover its historical legacy by visiting this Google Arts and Culture online exhibit — which includes a video feature about the Emancipation Proclamation with prominent historians and former Attorney General Eric Holder — curated by the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resilience” is generously supported by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
With your generous support as a Member, we continue to create programs and provide resources that educate a global audience on the FULL African American experience that — like Juneteenth — are so important, yet too often overlooked or obscured.
As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, NMAAHC is temporarily closed.
Image: Detail of photo of a group of people having a picnic, ca. 1920, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Jennifer Cain Bohrnstedt, TA2015.143.3.17.