Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States honoring African American heritage by commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in 1865. The holiday is celebrated on June 19, but the City's events take place throughout the weekend leading up to the holiday.
This year, there are several City events where you can celebrate Juneteenth with other Austinites. Come to one (or more!) of the events listed below and join the fun!
Austin Public Library Celebrates Juneteenth
The Austin Public Library's Carver Branch will host Juneteenth: Your Favorite Juneteenth Foods: Health and Education on June 16 at 10:30 a.m. The free event features several entertainment options, including a puppet show and a drum circle. View the event schedule online to see all activities.
Juneteenth at the Carver Museum
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center's annual free Juneteenth event kicks off on June 16 at noon and combines heritage, food, music and fun! Approximately 1,000 people attended the event last year. Cultural and Arts Education Coordinator Danita Nelson anticipates that more will attend the event this year.
Event volunteers present an opportunity to better understand the significance of early emancipation celebrations. "I'm always excited about the character interpretations," Nelson said. "[The volunteers] portray people who lived at the time when General Granger rolled into Galveston Bay to announce the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed."
Food samples, including lemonade and tea cakes, remind event-goers of refreshments common to early celebrations. For the second year, Amy’s Ice Creams will serve free scoops, a benefit funded by the museum's friends’ organization, the George Washington Carver Museum Ambassadors.
An outdoor stage in the courtyard will feature the museum's African drum classes and Frenesi, a local world music ensemble. Participants can also play games including:
- Jacks and marbles
- Active sack races
- Carnival-type competitions
A new offering will feature art-making with teaching artists from the Theater Action Project (TAP) together with Capital Metro. Portraits created by TAP summer camp participants will grace the Metro bus interior. Juneteenth participants can learn how to make their own self-portraits at this activity.
A Taste of Juneteenth with the Kitchen Diva
On June 19, the Carver Museum will also host Angela Shelf Medearis, who will share healthy samples of recipes from her recent work, "The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook." Samples will highlight traditional Juneteenth food as well as food products used in innovations developed by the museum's namesake, George Washington Carver. This event is also free and open to the public; however, it has reached capacity for seated guests.
Juneteenth Celebration at Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center
Also on June 19, the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center is hosting a Juneteenth celebration for registered participants at 10 a.m. The event features guest speakers and performances by the center's choir and two line-dance groups. Following the entertainment, a barbeque lunch - sponsored by the center's advisory board - is served to participants.
Central Texas Juneteenth Celebration
The 2012 Central Texas Juneteenth Celebration is scheduled for June 19. The event features a parade, a 2K freedom run/walk and a park celebration, among other various activities. View the event schedule for details.
Can't Make It to the Festivities?
The Carver Museum actually celebrates Juneteenth year-round, as one of its permanent exhibits is dedicated to the Juneteenth story. The multi-media installation includes video, vintage photography, a timeline and an interactive Juneteenth history quiz. Visit the museum's website to learn more about the exhibit.