Juneteenth 2023

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth marks an effective end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. — History.com

What’s happening?

Did you know?

Flag with white star in middle, white starburst outline behind the star and red at bottom and blue at top
The Juneteenth Flag

There is an official Juneteenth Flag. The banner has a bursting white star in the middle and is a symbolic  representation of the end of slavery in the United States. The flag is the creation of activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF). He designed the flag in 1997 with the help of collaborators and Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf. The flag has been revised twice since its creation. — CNN

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation into law establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Since June 2021, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has authorized Juneteenth as a holiday for Alabama state employees and it remains so upon designation by the governor.

The University of Alabama recognized the first official Juneteenth holiday in 2021 and has since added it to the University’s list of annual holidays.

Campus Programming and Events

Juneteenth exhibitJuneteenth Freedom Day Exhibition

June 1-15 | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily | Intercultural Diversity Center, 2100 Student Center
(Cultural Engagement/Educational Engagement)
*Open to everyone

In recognition of the Juneteenth holiday, the Intercultural Diversity Center and Black Student Union will present a Juneteenth Freedom Day exhibit. Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African American culture. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. This exhibition explores its history, key figures, its impact within the United States and African American community, ways to get involved and more. For more information, contact the Intercultural Diversity Center at ua_idc@ua.edu.

Juneteenth Freedom Day Pop-Up Shop

Thursday, June 15 | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Intercultural Diversity Center, 2100 Student Center
(Educational Engagement/Cultural Exploration/Social Enrichment)
*Open to everyone

In celebration of the federally acknowledged Juneteenth holiday, the Intercultural Diversity Center and the Black Student Union will host a special Pop-Up Shop. This program will feature a presentation focusing on the history of Juneteenth (1865-present day), celebrations and practices, reading lists and more. In addition, participants can view the exhibit, participate in table conversations and more. For more information, contact the Intercultural Diversity Center at ua_idc@ua.edu.

Tracing Our Roots: African American Genealogy Workshop and Seminar — CANCELED

This workshop has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. Below are resources if you are interested in the history of Juneteenth and understanding how to trace your family history.

The History of Juneteenth

Writing our Family Stories by Frazine Taylor

(Cultural Exploration/Educational Engagement/Social Enrichment)

In celebration of Juneteenth, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will host Tracing Our Roots: African American Genealogy Workshop and Seminar. This seminar and workshop, led by Frazine Taylor, one of Alabama’s foremost genealogists, will provide information on the necessary tools and resources to help individuals learn the importance and value of tracing their African American ancestors. Taylor will offer step-by-step actions needed to trace one’s roots. For more information, contact the Intercultural Diversity Center at ua_idc@ua.edu.

Tuscaloosa and Northport Celebrations

black, red, yellow and green background with info on topNAACP Events

The University of Alabama’s chapter and the Tuscaloosa Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host a series of events to commemorate Juneteenth in Tuscaloosa. The NAACP, a civil rights organization formed in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans, works “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.” For more information about local events, contact Lisa Young at lyoung@ccs.ua.edu.

Local Civil Rights Bus Tour
Friday, June 16 |10 a.m.–Noon | Departure: Benjamin Barnes Branch YMCA, 2939 18th Street, Tuscaloosa
Tuscaloosa has a rich history in the Civil Rights Movement and is home to several significant landmarks and sites that played a role in the struggle for civil rights. This tour is geared towards local youth and hosted by the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Foundation and the West Alabama Multicultural Alliance. For more information, contact Samyra Snoddy at 205-242-8753.

Juneteenth Parade & Community Cookout in the Park
Saturday, June 17
Parade line-up: 9 a.m. at Westlawn Middle School, 1715 Martin Luther King Blvd., Tuscaloosa
Community Cookout: noon at Palmore Park, 3701 Fosters Ferry Road, Tuscaloosa

To kick off the day, the NAACP will host a parade. Participation is open to all groups and organizations within the county of Tuscaloosa or surrounding counties. The parade route begins at Westlawn Middle School and ends at the McDonald Hughes Community Center. Grand marshals for this year’s parade will be the Rev. David Gay, Lillie Leatherwood, and Jocqueline Richardson. Participation is free and registration is required to participate.

The community cookout will be festive and fun. Entertainment will be provided free of charge to the community. Attendees are encouraged to bring their tents, chairs and grills. Vendors are welcome, free of charge, but vendors must register.

NAACP Juneteenth Living Legend Luncheon
Monday, June 19 | noon-1:30 p.m. | Shelton State Community College, Martin Campus, 9500 Old Greensboro Road, Tuscaloosa

The guest of honor will be a member of the Tuscaloosa community that has made a major contribution to enhancing the lives of African Americans in Tuscaloosa and abroad. This year’s honoree is Willie Mae Wells, a foot soldier in Tuscaloosa’s Bloody Tuesday, a day in 1964 when an angry white mob attacked protesters at First African Baptist Church. Wells, a Tuscaloosa native, is a graduate of Stillman College, where she also worked for many years.

Individual tickets are $25 and can be purchased online via Eventbrite.

Northport Events

Juneteenth Celebration and Concert
Saturday, June 17 | begins at noon | Kentuck Park

The Juneteenth in Northport Committee will host its celebration Saturday, June 17, at Kentuck Park. The event, which is free and open to the public, will include live music, food trucks, vendors and activities for children.

The concert, which is scheduled for 4 p.m., will feature local gospel, blues and spoken word artists.

Juneteenth History and Celebrations

Juneteenth videos, African American family history, recipes, youth activities, reading list (National Museum of African American History and Culture)

History of Juneteenth (History.com)

What is Juneteenth? (PBS.org)

National Registry Juneteenth Organizations and Supporters (Juneteenth.com)

What is Juneteenth? Everything You Need to Know About America’s Newest National Holiday (Forbes.com)

Senate Unanimously Approves a Bill to Make Juneteenth a Public Holiday (NPR.org)