(Image via The Philadelphia Tribune)
By Chanel Hill
PHILADELPHIA — Juneteenth is the oldest celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and enslaved African Americans were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Since the 1800s, Black Americans have recognized Juneteenth with parades, street festivals, musical performances and cookouts.
However, it was only in 2021 that President Joe Biden signed a bill passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth, or June 19, as a federal holiday. It is the first new national holiday since President Ronald Reagan named Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday in 1983.
This year, Juneteenth will be marked with free admission to several museums, community events, music performances, art showcases and festivals throughout the city and the Greater Philadelphia region.
Here’s a list of offerings around the Philadelphia region on June 19:
Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Please Touch Museum
Children and their parents can learn about the traditions of Juneteenth with artist Thembi Palmer, storyteller Queen Nur and author Gail Ramos. There will also be a live cooking demo on the history of red velvet cake and hibiscus tea and live performances by the West Powelton Steppers and the West Philadelphia Drumline. Tickets are required. Visit pleasetouchmuseum.org.
National Constitution Center
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: 525 Arch St.
The museum will offer free admission on Juneteenth. Visitors can participate in special tours of the center’s exhibit, Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality. Additional programs highlight freedom fighters from the Reconstruction era like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and more.
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St.
This block party will feature a plethora of live performances including PHILADANCO and Grammy award-winning DJ Spinderella. The event will also have a marketplace highlighting Black-owned business, food trucks, hands-on activities and free admission with online registration. Philadelphia radio icon and WURD host Tiffany Bacon will be the host for the event. Visit aampmuseum.org.
Jubilee Street Festival
Time: 12 to 6 p.m.
Location: DeKalb Street and East Main Street, Norristown
This festival will feature an eclectic mix of local vendors, live entertainment, music and food. The event will also include an art show, kids zone and a Harriet Tubman reenactment at the Center Theater.
Millennial Juneteenth Festival
Time: 3 to 8 p.m.
Location: Kingsessing Recreation Center
Join the nonprofit organization Millennial Juneteenth for its fourth annual Juneteenth festival. This event will feature Black-owed business vendors, live music and performances and activities for kids.
Time: 4 to 7 p.m.
Location: Rose Tree Park, Media
This family-friendly event will have vendors, food trucks, activities for kids and live music from the band Philly Gumbo. The event will culminate with a ceremony.
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