It’s official: Juneteenth is a federal holiday, and celebrations are planned throughout the metro area this year.
Although Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, granting freedom to enslaved people held by Confederate rebel slaveholders, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers delivered this news to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Therefore, June 19, also known as Juneteenth, is commemorated as the day that slavery was abolished in the U.S.
According to the Missouri Historical Society, Texas declared Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980, and some states, including Missouri in 2003, have since followed suit. However, this year marks the first Juneteenth celebrated as a federal holiday.
The Missouri History Museum in St. Louis has been commemorating this holiday all month, “welcoming audiences of all ages to gather virtually as well as in-person to critically examine systemic racism and celebrate Juneteenth,” according to a press release. It continues its events into the weekend with the Juneteenth Community Bike Ride, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.
“Join Trailnet, 4 The Ville, and the Missouri Historical Society for a group bicycle ride with live performances from area musicians, with historians and storytellers sharing the city’s history,” the event page relays. “This guided group bike ride takes place on city streets, at a slow pace for people of all comfort levels.”
Other Missouri History Museum events happening this month include Just Breathe STL, a weekly wellness activity presented by Black-owned yoga studio The Collective STL, and an interactive reading activity led by St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature on June 24.
“Juneteenth serves as a reminder of the significance of building community within our fight against injustice,” says Nya Hardaway, African American History Initiatives Outreach Coordinator for the Missouri Historical Society. “As we reflect on our history as Black people and work toward an equitable future, Juneteenth celebrations encourage us to come together for joy, strength and rest.”
Keep scrolling to discover more ways to honor Juneteenth this weekend in the metro area.