Resources to help you learn about and engage with Black history, culture, art and community in celebration of Juneteenth.
Today, Juneteenth is just beginning to gain widespread recognition as a holiday, however, it stands for a major milestone in American history. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was intended to free all enslaved people, most weren’t granted freedom until nearly three years later on June 19, 1865.
Long observed in the Black community, Juneteenth marks the true end of slavery and is a celebration of freedom, emancipation and liberation. It’s also a moment to celebrate the many ways Black Americans have shaped our nation’s culture – from music and art to literature, civil rights and business.
Recognizing Juneteenth and celebrating it in your community is an important way to amplify and honor Black history and culture while also understanding the significance of the holiday in today’s society.
The History of Juneteenth
On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free enslaved Black people in the United States. The proclamation didn’t mean immediate freedom, however. Instead, the proclamation didn’t go into effect until 1863. And even then, it was just on paper. Many Southern slave owners migrated West into Texas in an effort to evade the Union and continue owning slaves.
True liberation happened on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers marched into Galveston Bay, Texas, and announced that more than 250,000 enslaved black people were free. It’s important to recognize that the day didn’t include instant freedom for all. Many slave owners were not quick to let slaves go, making it still a difficult process.
As of June 2021, Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday. Celebrating the day in the U.S. means recognizing the difficult path toward freedom while celebrating the huge milestone of ending institutionalized slavery.
How to Celebrate
Cities across the U.S. have started putting together more Juneteenth celebrations as the holiday becomes more widely recognized. If you’re in the Bay Area, along with the HoneyBook HQ, we recommend attending some of the great community events coming up.
If you’re not, we encourage you to find events in your own community or celebrate at home with friends and family. Here are some great ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year:
Bay Area Events
- “Monumental Reckoning”: A Sculpture Honoring the History of African-Americans at Golden Gate Park – Dana King, sculptor, unveils her installation of 350 ancestral sculptures representing the first Africans stolen from their homelands and sold into chattel slavery in 1619. Commune with the ancestors in Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 18th at 5-6:30 pm at The Spreckles Temple of Music.
- Juneteenth at the Bayview Opera House – The Bayview Opera House in San Francisco will be opening for its first outdoor concert since Shelter-in-Place began. Join them on Saturday, June 19th at 1-3 pm for a packed lineup of incredible performances.
- AfroSolo Arts Festival: A Spotlight on Black Voices and Stories – The AfroSolo Arts Festival presents its annual 26th season of “Black Voices: Our Stories Our Lives” June 17-20th which can be seen via their YouTube channel.
- The 40th Annual Juneteenth In The Park Festival – For over 39 years the Juneteenth Festival in San Jose has been celebrating Black American heritage by showcasing artists, food, artwork, retailers, local businesses, and community services. Check out the festival on Saturday, June 19th from 1-7 pm at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds.
Support Black Artists
- So many musical genres can trace their roots back to Black culture (everyone from Elvis to Ariana Grande), spend some time exploring the vast influence of Black artists by enjoying the many playlists on offer from providers like Spotify and Apple music.
- June is Black Music Month
- Read books written by Black authors and poets
- Seek out exhibitions by Black artists at your local galleries and visit Black-owned galleries in your area. Additionally, you can support independent Black artists on online marketplaces like Etsy.
Immerse Yourself In Your Community’s Black Culture
- Dine-in or take-out from Black-owned restaurants
- Visit Black museums, libraries or cultural centers
- African American Museum & Library Oakland
- Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
- Civil Rights Museum (offering options for virtual learning)
- Black History Museum and Cultural Center
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- + more!
How to Make an Impact
- Volunteer your time (or donate if you are able)
- Fair Fight – Advocates for voter participation
- HeadCount – Promotes voter education and participation in democracy through the power of music
- Rock The Vote – Dedicated to building the political power of young people
- Black Girls Code – Provides technology education to Black girls
- NAACP – Grassroots activism for civil rights
- Common Ground Foundation – Empowers high school students from underserved communities to become future leaders
- Make a financial contribution if you are able (or volunteer your time)
- Support Mutual Aid – A volunteer community-based effort that provides groceries, baby supplies, funds to make rent, etc all across the U.S.
- Loveland Foundation – Therapy fund that provides access to mental health support for People of Color with a specific focus on Black women and girls
- The Bail Project – Working to prevent incarceration and fight against racial and economic disparities in the bail system
- Act Blue – They manage split donations so that individuals can donate to multiple organizations at once
- Black and Brown Founders – They help Black and Brown entrepreneurs launch tech businesses by providing them with community, education and access
- HoneyBook has chosen to support the Martha P. Johnson Institute this year, which protects and defends Black trans people for the sole purpose of bettering the Black trans community across the diaspora
- Continue listening, engaging with and learning from the Black community, not just on Juneteenth but all year