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History of Juneteenth

National History

{{youtube:medium:right|w6rziFFA7F8}}Juneteenth has been celebrated in communities throughout the United States of America since the early part of the 20th century. The observance of June 19, 1865, as the African-American Emancipation Day, also called Freedom Day, has spread across the United States and beyond. It marks the day on which Union soldiers brought news about the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas. While Juneteenth celebrates freedom, it also highlights community, education and achievement in the African-American community. In 2021, it became a federal holiday. 

History at William & Mary

William & Mary’s inaugural Juneteenth celebration was held virtually in 2021. A committee of community members, faculty, staff and students chaired by Chief Diversity Officer Chon Glover, is currently planning the university’s first in-person Juneteenth event for June 17, 2022. It will take place at the site of “Hearth: Memorial to the Enslaved,” which will be dedicated in May 2022. The memorial is part of W&M’s continuing efforts to more fully recognize the vital contributions of African Americans to the university. The idea for the memorial came from the Lemon Project, a long-term research effort to explore the university’s history with slavery and its ongoing relationship with the African-American community. Juneteenth is another extension of those collective efforts.