Established as an official Virginia state holiday in June 2020, Juneteenth refers to June 19, the date in 1865 when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War was over and enslaved persons were free under the Emancipation Proclamation.
Although the proclamation had become official more than two years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863, freedmen in Texas adopted June 19 as the date they celebrated freedom from slavery. Colloquially known as Juneteenth, celebrations continued into the 20th century and in 1980, the Texas state legislature established June 19 as a state holiday. In the years following the Civil War, Emancipation Day celebrations in Richmond often took place on April 3, the date Union forces entered the city.
Here are some of the events happening this year in Richmond with information on when and where they take place:
Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration has been presented by Elegba Folklore Society annually since 1996 and is considered the flagship event of Richmond Juneteenth celebrations. This year’s event features a symposium, the Get Woke Youth Summit, performances, children’s activities, and the Freedom Market. The public is invited to engage in a moving and memorable recount of historical occurrences to deepen their perspectives on American history.
As a prelude to the Freedom Celebration, a Torch Lit Walk on the Trail of Enslaved Africans takes place June 11 beginning at the Manchester Dock, 1308 Brander Street, at 7 p.m. Interpreters will interweave the narratives of enslaved Africans with the historical record, characterizations of the day and music. This program is also free and open to the public.
Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration presented by Elegba Folklore Society, is held on Sunday, June 26 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the African Burial Ground, 1540 East Broad St., efsinc.org
In celebration of Juneteenth, the Library of Virginia invites visitors to view a selection of "Free Negro Registers” displayed in the lobby. These records demonstrate Virginia's efforts to control and regulate its growing free Black population from the late 18th century to the Civil War. The registers provide the names, ages, and physical descriptions of free Black and multiracial individuals who were required to register in their Virginia locality.
The register books demonstrate the unending challenges to being a free person of color in antebellum Virginia. While declared free on paper, their lives were closely watched by white officials restricting their mobility, autonomy, and humanity.
“Free Negro Registers” is on display June 13–27, at the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St., lva.org
- A dancer for the Elegba Folklore Society.
Juneteenth Freedom Day will be celebrated at Hardywood by The Love Movement Social Event Series. With live musical performances by Mighty Joshua and The Zion #5 and JTucker & The Krewe, there will also be performances by City Dance Theatre. DJ Adapt will be spinning favorite R&B and classic hip-hop and food will be available from Charles’ Kitchen Caribbean Cuisine, K&M Salmon Balls and Cakes, and the Hardywood Pizza Kitchen. Richmond's Black-owned businesses will also be featured during the festivities. Family friendly.
Juneteenth Freedom Day is held on Sunday, June 19 at 11 a.m. at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, 2410 Ownby Lane, hardywood.com
A Juneteenth Commemoration is being offered by Project Yoga Richmond and Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden as a way to offer space, place, and time for healing inter-generational harm and addressing the city’s layered history of racism and trauma. The event was created to commemorate freedom by acknowledging the land, honoring the Ancestors, and celebrating the self-determination of Black people through a yoga experience created to transform historical harms. People of all racial backgrounds are welcome to practice together and contemplate how they can show up in the community to create real change. The class is pay what you can, but advance registration is required.
A Juneteenth Commemoration is held on Sunday, June 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue, lewisginter.org
Henrico Recreation & Parks celebrates Juneteenth at Dorey Park with a vendor fair, kids’ zone, food trucks, and entertainment starting at 4 p.m. Fireworks will be part of the evening’s entertainment beginning at 9:15. The event is free and open to the public with no registration required.
Juneteenth Celebration 2022 will be held on Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. at Dorey Park, 2999 Darbytown Rd., henrico.us/calendar/juneteenth2022/