Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery and honors the contributions of African Americans throughout history. Events happen throughout the weekend, June 16-18.
Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865, arrival of Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, to tell slaves they were free, the last African Americans to learn the Emancipation Proclamation had officially freed them two years earlier. Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets after the announcement, and the following year, organized the first of what became the annual celebration of Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day in Texas. Now recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states, it’s a celebration of the contributions of African Americans throughout history.
Atlantic Street Center hosts a community Juneteenth Celebration with performances, games for all ages, food and a community resource fair from 2 to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at Rainier Beach Community Center, 8825 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle.
Yesler Community Center invites everyone to their Juneteenth Celebration party with activities for all ages, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 16; 917 E. Yesler Way, Seattle (206-386-1245).
Saturday and Sunday events
The Central Area Chamber of Commerce hosts its 34th annual Juneteenth International Celebration with the theme “Lessons for the past, inspiration for the future,” from noon to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 16-18. Each day has a theme: Kids Kick-Off with an ice cream social and Kids Star Search on Friday; Jazz and Blues Day in honor of local jazz legend Oscar Holden on Saturday; and Community Day in memory of recently passed pillars of the community with Church in the Park, a balloon memorial and choir music on Sunday. All events are for all ages, at Pratt Park, 1800 S. Main St., Seattle.
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On Saturday, June 17, Kent Black Action Commission (KBAC) hosts its sixth annual Juneteenth Celebration and Festival in Kent. The event opens at 10 a.m., with an opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. and and the celebration lasting until dusk. The day includes children’s games, local talent showcase, celebration of students, vendors, free lunch, a community dance and music including jazz guitarist Michael Powers. The event is at Morrill Meadows Park, 10600 S.E. 248th St., in Kent.
All events are free.