This year’s Juneteenth is being observed across the borough, with a mix of in-person and virtual events where Brooklynites can soak up a bit of knowledge while celebrating.
The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the day when news of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. While Black Brooklynites of the 19th and early 20th century often held celebrations on or near Jan. 1 when the proclamation was officially released, by the late 20th century Juneteenth had evolved into a national, rather than just regional, celebration of African American family, freedom and achievement.
Texas was the first state to declare it a public holiday in 1980. It was established as a commemorative day in New York State in 2004, and it became an official public holiday in the state in 2020.
Here’s what’s happening across Brooklyn on Saturday, June 19:
Herbert Von King Park
670 Lafayette Ave.
9 am–6 pm
A mix of in-person and virtually programming, this year’s annual festival will include performances, workshops, vendors and the distribution of the Brooklyn Public Library’s new, limited edition Black American library card. The festival is also a three day event this year with programs the evening before and the Juneteenth Pomp on Sunday at Restoration Plaza.
200 Eastern Parkway
11 am and 6-8 pm
The Brooklyn Museum Plaza will be the gathering spot for morning remarks by local leaders before the kickoff of Freedom Ride, a Good Company Bike Club tour past landmarks of Black Brooklyn history with stops at Black-owned businesses. At night the plaza will be filled with live music and food from the Black Chef Movement.
Wyckoff House Museum
5816 Clarendon Road
11 am–3 pm
Dive into some hands-on activities like flag and journal making in celebration of both Juneteenth and Caribbean Heritage Month at this family-friendly day. There will also be farm activities and garden tours. Some portions of the day will be limited in the number of participants, so be sure to check all the details.
Weeksville Heritage Center
Join Weeksville virtually for a free, interactive afternoon focused on Black foodways and culture. There will be food demonstrations, a panel discussion exploring food deserts and community fridges, a chat with food historians Tonya Hopkins and Dr. Jessica Harris and a slideshow with photos and clips from the oral histories collected as part of the Meals as Collective Memory project.
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
The Center for History celebrates its first in-person event with the opening of a new exhibition examining the activism of Black Brooklynites across the centuries. The opening event will include remarks from Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson and historian Dr. Brian Purnell. The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 20, 2021.
This story first appeared on Brownstoner.com.