Honor Juneteenth at African American History Museum

A group of people on a picnic, c. 1920. Photographic gelatin and silver on paper. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of
African
American History and Culture, Gift of Jennifer
Cain Bohrnstedt

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American and History and Culture(NMAAHC, 1400 Constitution Ave. NW) will host a variety of virtual and in-person events and programs highlighting the experience of African American Juneteenth celebrations.

Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth marks the moment in United States’ history—June 19, 1865—when the remaining 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Confederate states were legally declared free, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

In the century-and-a half since, the Juneteenth holiday represents a time to gather with family and community, honor the present and reflect on shared history and tradition. It was designated a federal holiday in 2021.

Participate this year in both virtual and live Juneteenth Programming at the National Museum of African American History & Culture. All programs are free but require registration.

(virtual) Tuning in to Juneteenth. Monday, June 6 at 6 p.m. Stephen Lewis, NMAAHC Curator of Music and the Performing Arts, discuss the premier of the Juneteenth Playlist featuring the best of jazz, soul, rhythm and blues, gospel, classical and other genres.

(virtual) Juneteenth Dishes to Taste and Savor. Monday, June 6 at 6 p.m. NMAAHC Curator Joanne Hyppolite and Sweet Home Café Executive Chef Ramin discuss how at-home audiences can design and cook a delicious Juneteenth Day menu—inspired by longtime honored recipes reconceptualized for today’s palate.

(live and virtual) Texas Freedom Colonies. Saturday, June 11; noon to 1:30 p.m. Dr. Andrea Robert, University of Texas at Austin professor, discusses her work researching, documenting, preserving, and mapping ‘Freedom Colonies’—areas where African Americans started intentional communities between the years 1865 and 1935.

(live) Watermelon & Red Birds—A Conversation with Nicole A. Taylor. Monday, June 13; 7 p.m. American writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor discusses her book Watermelon and Red Birds, which includes documentation of 19th century Juneteenth celebrations, and recipe updates to 21st Century tastes.

(live) One Year Later: Juneteenth for all Americans. Wednesday, June 15; 7 p.m. Kevin Young, Andrew W. Mellon Director of NMAAHC, moderates a panel of scholars as they discuss the historic and social complexity of Juneteenth.

(live) Juneteenth Community Day. Sunday, June 19, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Celebrate the history, art, and culture of Juneteenth at NMAAHC with three community day events.

Alphonso Horne and the Gotham Kings. Monday, June 20; 3 p.m. Grammy-nominated trumpeter Alphonso Horne and the Gotham Kings weave together the sounds of New Orleans to demonstrate the history of the trumpet and the story of jazz for an immersive jazz experience for all ages.

A Soldier’s Story. Monday, June 20; 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 

Learn how the United States Colored Troops came into being, what the Emancipation Proclamation really did, the significance of Juneteenth, and how they affect us today.

(live and streaming) Light in the Darkness: When Monuments Attack. Tuesday, June 21; 7 p.m. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and The Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, host a discussion exploring the politics of memory and how questions and debates about memorials and monuments help to understand the past and present around matters of race, community, identity, and nation. Live and streaming. Registration encouraged.

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