Friday, June 18, 2021
Juneteenth Day is a traditional holiday widely celebrated in the United States and honoring the culture, history, and achievements of African-Americans. Now a federal holiday signed into law by President Joe Biden, Juneteenth Day honors those who were subjected to slavery, many of whom lost their families or their lives.
Juneteenth Day commemorates June 19, 1865, when Gordon Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that enslaved African-Americans were granted their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement promoted the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.
In 1866, one year after Granger’s announcements, the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas. In less than a decade, celebrations began to spread across the country, typically including family gatherings, prayer, educational events, and festivals with music, food, and dancing. The day is now observed outside the United States as well, celebrating the culture and achievements of African Americans.
Milwaukee will host its 50th annual Juneteenth Day observations this year. Northcott Neighborhood House is spearheading Juneteenth Day with a parade and activities. The parade will kick off at North 14th Street and West Atkinson Avenue and head toward West Burleigh Street and North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive starting at 8 A.M. on Saturday, June 19. The opening ceremonies and festival will take place on King Drive between West Burleigh Street and West North Avenue from 9:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Vendors, entertainment, community resources, and food will be available. Attendees are required to wear face masks.
Observe Juneteenth Day by taking part in a celebration or supporting a Black-owned restaurant or business. Visit MKE Black and check out its business directory to find great food, services, arts, resources, shops, and more. The Sherman Phoenix, home to small businesses and restaurants, is newly reopened—visit shermanphoenix.com for hours and offerings.
Learn more about Juneteenth Day at juneteenth.com and the National Public Radio website.