Juneteenth is a time to gather with family and community, honor the present and reflect on shared history and tradition. Discover the tastes, sounds and experiences of this African American cultural tradition. 

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

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."

Learn more about Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth?

In this curatorial discussion, museum experts examine the historical significance of the holiday and how it came to be.
Read More about What is Juneteenth?

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 More about Who Celebrates Juneteenth?
African-American family picnicking at Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland, 1956.

Why is Juneteenth Important?

Museum scholars explore the origins of Juneteenth, the meaning of freedom and African American cultural traditions.
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Emancipation Day celebration, June 19, 1900 held in "East Woods" on East 24th Street in Austin.

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 More about The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

Celebrate with the Museum

Join us on Monday, June 20th to celebrate the history, art and culture of Juneteenth in-person at the museum’s Community Day. Registration permits entry to events at the museum throughout the day. 

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Princetta R. Newman
A black and white photo of a group of African Americans in the 1910s attending a family reuinion

The Historical Legacy of Black Family Reunions

The coming of summer heralds cook-outs, line dancing, and brightly colored t-shirts iconic of Black family reunions. These events serve as important rituals in African American families that are heavily enmeshed in centuries of American slavery. During these times enslaved families were often broken apart as slave owners sold children, siblings and even married off individuals as chattel.
Read More about The Historical Legacy of Black Family Reunions

Share Your Story

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

The Community Curation Platform provides a unique opportunity for individuals, families, and community groups to share their stories as part of the Museum's online community collection. Begin sharing your stories today by creating an online account with the Museum and uploading your digitized photos and videos. Visit our Submission Guidelines to learn tips on digitizing and what makes for a great community story.

Join the Community

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

NMAAHC Web Content Specialist Andre Thompson and his family show how to make the perfect brisket for Juneteenth.

Barbequed Beef Brisket Sandwich

Barbequed Beef Brisket Sandwich

In much of the south, barbecue is about pork. In Texas, however, beef brisket is the chosen meat on the barbecue trail.
Get the Recipe about Barbequed Beef Brisket Sandwich
Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Okra is Africa’s culinary totem. It originated on the continent and made its way around the world.
Get the Recipe about Stewed Tomatoes and Okra
Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Although many think that red velvet cake has been an American standby for centuries, it is actually a twentieth-century invention, having originated in the 1920s.
Get the Recipe about Red Velvet Cake
Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea

Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea

Hibiscus is the fresh or dried pod of Hibiscus sabdariffa, a plant native to West Africa.
Get The Recipe about Hibiscus Ginger Sweet Tea
Image of Red Beans and Rice on a plate

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans And Rice is a classic Monday-night dinner in New Orleans.
Get Recipe about Red Beans and Rice

Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook

View more delicious recipes in Our Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook.
Sweet Home Cafe' Cookbook
More than a collection of inviting recipes, Sweet Home Cafe' Cookbook illustrates the pivotal—and often overlooked—role that African Americans have played in creating and re-creating American foodways.

Resources

Family Day inspired by A is for All the Things You Are, April 10, 2019

Understanding & Celebrating Juneteenth

For young children, the abstract concept of freedom and the hard history of slavery can be challenging to grasp. The museum offers resources to support young children’s understanding and celebration of Juneteenth in age appropriate ways. 

Learn More about Understanding & Celebrating Juneteenth

                                                           Descargar Espanol PDF

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 about Juneteenth Reading List
Social Media Toolkit

Social Media Toolkit

Celebrate Juneteenth with the museum on social!

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Juneteenth Commemorative Collection. Available for a limited time only! Shop Now

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 about Limited Edition Collection ends July 9th

This year’s Juneteenth programming is supported by CVS Health.

CVS Health logo CVS is in red stacked above HEALTH in black text.
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