On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free.

This day came to be known as Juneteenth, now officially a federal holiday. Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future.

Enjoy the Tastes, Sounds and Experiences of Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrates African American resilience and achievement, while aiding in the preservation of those historical narratives that promoted racial and personal advancement since Freedom Day. Join the museum’s Juneteenth celebration – spanning the entire month of June – and embrace the rich history of Freedom Day each week. 

Learn More about Enjoy the Tastes, Sounds and Experiences of Juneteenth

Juneteenth and the Color Red

Juneteenth 2023 Red List Notebook

The Juneteenth 2023 Red List Notebook is among Juneteenth commemorative collection available in the museum store. 

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Each year when my family celebrates Juneteenth, our flyers boldly request that each quest bring something "Red." We then add examples, like red soda pop, watermelon, apples, or even red beans. Folks bring these items without much thinking about their origin. In fact, the roots of the symbolic efficacy of the color red can be traced to West Africa, where it has been associated with strength, spirituality, life, and death. Furthermore, culinary historians, trace the color to certain foods that traveled to the Americas along with the Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, such as hibiscus and the kola nut. 

So, this year at Juneteenth, as you take a long swallow from a cool drink of hibiscus iced tea, or red punch, remember the ancestors who sacrificed, remember the blood shed in the struggle, remember the collective strength of people of the African diaspora, and finally remember the spirituality and transcendent joy that enabled us to overcome.
Kelly Navies, museum specialist and oral historian

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On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state were free. This day came to be known as #Juneteenth, now officially a federal holiday. Celebrate with @NMAAHC: nmaach.si.edu/Juneteenth


Do you know the story of #Juneteenth? Learn more and join in the celebration with @NMAAHC: nmaahc.si.edu/Juneteenth


“Freedom Quilt” created by Jessie Bell Williams Telfair, ca. 1975

Join Our Programs

Juneteenth: A Time of Celebration, Reflection

Join us in-person and online for our Juneteenth programming highlighting community, culture and freedom.  

Register Now about Juneteenth: A Time of Celebration, Reflection

Discover Educational Resources

Press Play on History: Juneteenth

Connect songs to themes of the historical experience of African Americans and Juneteenth and create a playlist through this Learning Lab activity.

Find Out More about Press Play on History: Juneteenth
Emancipation by Thomas Nast

Juneteenth: Connecting the Historic to the Now

Scholars discuss the historical and current political significance of the holiday.

Watch Now about Juneteenth: Connecting the Historic to the Now

Explore More

As you celebrate Juneteenth this year, the museum offers additional resources to help you embrace the rich history of Freedom Day.

Juneteenth parade in Beaumont, Texas in 1925

Juneteenth: Cause for Celebration

This 1925 film, recorded by the Rev. Solomon Sir Jones, captures a Juneteenth celebration in Beaumont, Texas. Learn more about Reconstruction, rights and retaliation by visiting our Searchable Museum.

Explore! about Juneteenth: Cause for Celebration

Embrace a Rich History 

Watch museum videos that celebrate culture, family and freedom. 

We use the video player Able Player to provide captions and audio descriptions. Able Player performs best using web browsers Google Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. If you are using Safari as your browser, use the play button to continue the video after each audio description. We apologize for the inconvenience.

NMAAHC Oral History Specialist Kelly Navies talks about the history of Juneteenth.

We use the video player Able Player to provide captions and audio descriptions. Able Player performs best using web browsers Google Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. If you are using Safari as your browser, use the play button to continue the video after each audio description. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Rochelle Rice sings "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

We use the video player Able Player to provide captions and audio descriptions. Able Player performs best using web browsers Google Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. If you are using Safari as your browser, use the play button to continue the video after each audio description. We apologize for the inconvenience.

What is Juneteenth, and why is it important? - Karlos K. Hill and Soraya Field Fiorio

TED-Ed

Juneteenth Reading List

Check out our museum's top picks and explore the books on our expert's must-read list — curated just for you. 

Explore the Books about Juneteenth Reading List

Titles for Younger Readers

Facts About Juneteenth

The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s curator of women’s history Angela Tate and museum specialist and oral historian Kelly Navies provide history and insight on Juneteenth.

Savor the Flavors of Juneteenth

Recreate time-honored recipes from the Sweet Home Café Cookbook.
Image of Red Beans and Rice on a plate

Louis Armstrong's Red Beans and Rice

Louis Armstrong was such a fan of the dish that he signed his letters “red beans and ricely yours.” His family recipe uses tomato sauce, which is not an ingredient in the traditional recipe.
Download Recipe about Louis Armstrong's Red Beans and Rice
Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea

Hibiscus and Ginger Sweet Tea

Hibiscus, which is known as sorrel or roselle in the Caribbean, flor de Jamaica in Mexico, bissap in Senegal, and karkade in Egypt, is the fresh or dried pod of Hibiscus sabdariffa, a plant native to West Africa. The bright red pods have long been valued for making hot and cold drinks and in folk medicine.
Download Recipe about Hibiscus and Ginger Sweet Tea

Commemorative Merchandise

image of a fixture in the museum store containing NMAAHC Juneteenth Merchandise

Help Represent Juneteenth

Shop this limited-edition collection that honors Juneteenth as celebrated for over 150 years. Purchases support the museum’s artistic, community and education programs.

 

Visit the Store about Help Represent Juneteenth

Transcribe Freedmen's Bureau Records

Learn about the post-Civil War transition of enslaved people by volunteering to transcribe the records of the Freedmen's Bureau, which is accessible online, through the Smithsonian Transcription Center.

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