Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a time to gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. Discover ways to celebrate this African American cultural tradition of music, food and freedom. 

The above media is provided by YouTube (Privacy Policy, Terms of Service)

Virtual Programs

Generously supported by Ford Motor Company

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. He informed the enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. This momentous occasion has been celebrated as Juneteenth — a combination of June and 19 — for over 150 years.

We will begin this celebration with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

The above media is provided by YouTube (Privacy Policy, Terms of Service)

African-American family picnicking at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland, 1956.
01/04

Why is Juneteenth Important?

Museum scholars explore the origins of Juneteenth, the meaning of freedom and African American cultural traditions.
Read Story
02/04

Who Celebrates Juneteenth?

Learn more about the people who celebrate the holiday and the cultural significance they place on commemorating this moment in history.
Read Story
Photo of Booker T. Washington
03/04

Emancipation and Educating the Newly Freed

For the nearly four million newly freed, education was a crucial first step to becoming self-sufficient. Between 1861 and 1900, more than 90 institutions of higher education were founded for African Americans.
Read Story
Emancipation Day celebration, June 19, 1900 held in
04/04

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is an often overlooked event in our nation’s history. On June 19, 1865, Union troops freed enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay and across Texas some two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Read Story

Find Your Ancestors

Research African American family history beyond 1870 into the era of slavery. 

Initiative

The Freedmen's Bureau Records

The museum tells the story of the post-Civil War transition of enslaved people to freedom by making the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau accessible online.
Read More
  • Manuscript of Emancipation Proclamation on card 1863-1880s
    Manuscript of Emancipation Proclamation on card, 1863-1880s
  • Die-cut oval photographic montage of the makers of the 13th Amendment ca. 1865
    Die-cut oval photographic montage of the makers of the 13th Amendment ca. 1865
  • A Bill Providing for the celebration of the semicentennial anniversary of the Act of emancipation, and for other purposes.
    A Bill Providing for the celebration of the semicentennial anniversary of the Act of emancipation, and for other purposes.
  • The Proclamation of Emancipation by the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863
    The Proclamation of Emancipation by the President of the United States, to take effect January 1st, 1863, 1862

A Juneteenth Feast

Breaking bread with loved ones is an important part of African American culture, and Juneteenth is no different. These selected recipes reflect the holiday’s Texas roots.

Photographic slide of the Poor People's Campaign

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Robert Houston

I spoke with my grandma to get a sense of the ideal Juneteenth menu. My grandmother drew on her memories as a child and June outdoor meals that her church and community group have every year. She stated the menu should consist of easily prepared foods that can sit outside for an extended period without going bad such as salads and pickled side dishes.

Leslie Walker Manager of Social Justice and Scholarly Programs (NMAAHC)

Barbequed Beef Brisket Sandwich
01/05

Barbequed Beef Brisket Sandwich

Get the Recipe
Stewed Tomatoes and Okra
02/05

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Get the Recipe
Red Velvet Cake
03/05

Red Velvet Cake

Get the Recipe
Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea
04/05

Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea

Get The Recipe

Share Your Story

Your history is American history.
Share stories of people, places and moments that shape your community this Juneteenth.

Join the Community

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Princetta R. Newman

Children & Youth Activities

Early Childhood

Discover Juneteenth resources to share with young children.

Learn More

Secondary Education

Create an interpretive playlist of Juneteenth celebrations. 

LEARN MORE

Resources

Juneteenth Reading List

Discover more about the history of Juneteenth and African American cultural traditions with a summer reading list curated by the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
View the List

Social Media Toolkit

Celebrate Juneteenth with the museum on social!
Download Toolkit

Limited Edition Collection ends July 9th

Help represent this holiday with products that honor Juneteenth as celebrated for over 150 years, in support of the museum.
Shop Now