Juneteenth, A Day of Celebration and Reflection

The Emancipation Proclamation: devised to free millions of slaves living in the United States was signed on January 1, 1863 but many did not learn about it for several years. After more than two years on June 19, 1865, Union Soldiers brought the news to Galveston, Texas. This was the beginning of what is now celebrated as Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. A day to rejoice in the abolition of slavery and for reflection on what this truly means.

The day was originally observed with people wearing new clothes to represent their new freedom, there were prayer meetings, feasting, song, and dance.

Today we celebrate in much the same way, parades, picnics, dance, and joy filled gatherings. However due to recent history this day takes on a slightly different tone. There is still joy in celebration of what has taken place, but we know there is still a lot of work to do. The Knoxville Area Urban League joins with our local community in observance of Juneteenth and invites everyone to come out and be a part of this historic event; learn, remember, and rejoice!

Update 6/18/21 – It is official! Juneteeth has now been deemed a Federal holiday by President Biden who stated it is a day to remember ‘moral stain’ and ‘terrible toll’ slavery took on the nation. Juneteenth 2021 is being recognized on Friday June 18th as the 19th falls on Saturday.

Phyllis Y. Nichols
President and CEO






Local Activities:

Juneteenth Dance Intensive for Justice
June 18th and 19th 7pm-8:30pm
BAPA: Broadway Academy of Performing Arts

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Parade and Juneteenth
June 19, 2021 @ 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Juneteenth Day of Liberation
June 19, 2021 6pm-10pm
Knoxville College Dr, Knoxville, TN 37921

A New Birth of Freedom: Stories of Emancipation at Mabry-Hazen House
June 19, 2021 10am – 2pm
Mabry-Hazen House 1711 Dandridge Avenue Knoxville, TN 37915