The First State has a number of events and ceremonies to celebrate and honor the newly-established federal holiday, Juneteenth.
Short for June 19, the day celebrates June 19, 1865, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his officers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free any remaining slaves.
It was two months after the Civil War had ended, and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.
The date became a national holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making the day America’s 12th federal holiday.
Juneteenth events include:
- Milford’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration starts at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 19. There will be live music, food and games. The event is at Bicentennial Park at 206 NE Front Street.
- The Sussex Family YMCA is kicking the celebration off at 11 a.m. with a presentation about the holiday. After that, there’s a barbecue cookout, followed by games and a moon-bounce and an open swim. The free event is at 0080 Church Street, Rehoboth Beach.
- Historic Odessa Foundation’s “Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story” is on Monday, June 19 at 2 p.m. It is free to the public and visitors will have the opportunity to have their silhouette cut in the method typical at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and will discover how the camera obscura was used to create profile likenesses for posterity.
- Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church in Wilmington will have a Juneteenth Observance Monday, June 19 at 5 p.m. Admission is free.
- The 26th Delaware Juneteenth Pageant is Saturday, June 24 at 5 p.m. at the Grand Opera House. Every year, starting in January, girls from ages eight through 18 attend six months of workshops that include Juneteenth & African American history, modeling and public speaking, etiquette, spirituality, self-image and essay writing. They also prepare to participate in the pageant where girls aged 15 to 18 compete for the title of Miss Juneteenth. The winner goes on to compete for the national title of Miss Juneteenth.
Is an event from your organization not in this article? Contact Jarek Rutz at (215) 450-9982 or [email protected] to get it added to the list.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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