Celebrating Juneteenth (June 19)

Dear Students, Staff, Faculty:

This Friday, June 19th, is referred to as Juneteenth. It is a day of celebration that honors the end of slavery in the United States, when news of emancipation and the end of Civil War finally reached the last group of slaves in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day and Black Independence Day.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

– General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation came 2½ years earlier on January 1, 1863, many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the announcement, so Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom.

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth officially became a Texas state holiday. Texas was the first state to grant this emancipation celebration. Although Juneteenth is not a federal holiday, 45 other states and the District of Columbia have also commemorated or recognized the day and have added it to the list of official holidays.

In addition to being a day of celebration, we encourage you to use it to advance your learning on racism, slavery, and America. Please find below more upcoming events and resources related to Juneteenth and to anti-racism.

Event at GUSOM: Cura Conversations Q&A Session “Discussing Juneteenth and Confronting Racial Inequities”

Please join us on [time] for an engaging Cura Conversations Q&A Session with Dr. Maurice Jackson, (G’95, G’01), Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies at Georgetown University. He also has served on the Georgetown Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation and served as the Past Chair of the DC Commission on African American Affairs, issuing a report on the State of African Americans in DC.

He will discuss the historical significance of Juneteenth, and take questions on activism, and racial inequities in the United States spanning from COVID-19’s disproportionate toll on African Americans to current discussions on structural racism.

Please RSVP & submit all your questions here: RSVP June 19 Q&A with Dr. Maurice Jackson

The following events at Georgetown and across the District of Columbia have been curated by the Division of Student Affairs at Georgetown University main campus:

Juneteenth (June 19th) Campus & DC Events:

●    Black Faculty/Staff Virtual Affinity Space – 6/18 at 12 pm – Contact Dr. Adanna Johnson and Jaime Brown for further information. Email: Adanna.johnson@georgetown.edu

●      DC Area Educators for Social Justice Rally to support equitable education – Freedom Plaza – 10 am

●      Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) hosts a virtual celebration of Black Freedom and Power – 6 pm – Instagram and Facebook Live

●      2020 Juneteenth Virtual Gala – 7 pm – The Amistad Center for Art & Culture hosts a virtual event to celebrate, collect, cultivate with music and art.

Action Item: Economic Justice is Racial Justice. Support Black-Owned Businesses.

For those interested in expanding their apparel collection, check out Black On Black™ which features items by and for Black people and allies.  Please  support Black Owned Restaurants in D.C.

For Young Readers:

All Different Now: Juneteenth: The First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

Juneteenth by Vaunda Michaeux and Drew Nelson

Juneteenth by Julie Murray

Juneteenth: Celebrating the End of Slavery by Janey LevyThe following list of Juneteenth resources has been curated by Dr. Maurice Jackson:


Official Site: Juneteenth World Wide Celebration

Web Articles

What Is Juneteenth? African American History Blog | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross- Henry L Gates

Why Juneteenth Must Be Celebrated – The Atlantic

Juneteenth Independence holiday: here’s what you need to know | US news | The Guardian

Why Juneteenth Celebrates the New Birth of Freedom | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine

Journal Articles/Print

Happy Juneteenth Day: African American ‘Holiday’ May Finally Receive Some National Recognition By White, Paula M Black Enterprise, Vol. 26, No. 11, June 1996

Juneteenth: Tracking the Progress of an Emancipation Celebration By Wiggins, William  American Visions, Vol. 8, No. 3, June-July 1993


Ralph Ellison,  Juneteenth : A Novel. New York:Vantage, 2000

MItch Kachun, .  Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808–1915. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2003.  .

William H Wiggins,., Jr. O Freedom! Afro-American Emancipation Celebrations. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987. Written by the preeminent folklorist of Juneteenth, this text places the holiday within the context of other African American celebrations.