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  • Writer's pictureShemika Berry

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom

Juneteenth has been know by many names:

Juneteenth National Independence Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day (in Texas),

Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day. For many African American families, Juneteenth is the Independence Day they celebrate and their traditions are more strongly tied to June 19 than July 4.

Juneteenth is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, the day that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned of their freedom. It is very noteworthy that this occurred on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, 160 years ago. While the holiday became federally recognized on June 19, 2021 it was first celebrated in Texas on June 19, 1866.

Here is an article about the symbols of the Juneteenth flag written in 2017.

I grew up knowing about Juneteenth from my mother who was raised in Texas. Celebrations were usually held at churches, involved large meals and their best outfits. Some families made pilgrimages to Galveston. Favorite foods and drinks involved BBQ and red food and drinks like strawberry soda and red velvet cake, which symbolize joy and the resilience of the people.

While many people celebrate the holiday on the 3rd Sat of June, we at the Accokeek Foundation will be celebrating Juneteenth on Monday, June 19, 2023. You are welcome to our Open House with demos, activities, hikes and a "Juneteenth: Journey to Freedom" tour that will share the history of the African American story in Maryland and how the Emancipation Proclamation affected Maryland.

We ask for registration for the tours as there is a cap on numbers. The registration links are below.

11:15am - 12:00pm

2;00pm - 2:45pm

What: Juneteenth Open House

When: Monday, June 19, 2023

Time: 11am - 3pm

Where: Piscataway Park Park

3400 Bryan Point Road

Accokeek, MD 20607

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