Juneteenth is an annual holiday that celebrates the emancipation of African Americans who were enslaved in the United States. It commemorates the arrival of Union troops to Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to announce the end of slavery – two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. In 2020, both New York State and the City of Hudson formally acknowledged Juneteenth as a State and City holiday. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday.
Below we have compiled a list of events and educational resources for those who wish to learn more about and commemorate this celebration of African American freedom. We will continue to update this list annually.
Also, check out these recordings of stories for children of all ages to enjoy in celebration of Juneteenth as shared by local artist, storyteller, and playwright, Pamila Badila of Diata Diata International Folkloric Theatre.
Local and Virtual Events
Who We Be! An Exhibition and Celebration of Black Life in Columbia County at Lightforms Art Center (743 Columbia Street, Hudson) – this new exhibit will be on display from June 3-30 with an opening ceremony and reception to be held on Friday, June 3 at 5pm and a special community talk titled “Roots & Remembrance” on Friday, June 10 at 5pm. Gallery hours are Fridays 3-7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11:30am-5pm, and by appointment (917-330-6262).
Hudson’s 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration at the Hudson Waterfront Park – an outdoor film screening of Miss Juneteenth (Friday, June 17, 7pm-10pm), the Revival of the Fittest Lipsync Show (Saturday, June 18, 7pm-10pm), and a day-long celebration with music, vendors, local artist showcase, youth talent show, games and prizes, wellness check ins, community conversations and more (Sunday, June 19, 12pm-9pm).
Juneteenth Celebration in Kinderhook – The Kinderhook Memorial Library and the Village of Kinderhook are hosting a Juneteenth event on Saturday, June 18 from 2-3:30pm at the pavilion at Rothermel Park with Operation Unite.
Nonfiction Book Club – Our Nonfiction Book Club will meet on Monday, June 27 at 6pm via Zoom to discuss their June book pick – On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed. All are welcome. To participate in the group discussion, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom link.
#blkfreedom – a virtual commemorative program in honor of Juneteenth, offered in collaboration between African American Museum of Philadelphia, America’s Black Holocaust Museum, August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Birmingham Civil Rights Museum, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, DuSable Museum of African American History, Harvey Gantt for African American Arts + Culture, Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, National Civil Rights Museum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the Northwest African American Museum.
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resistance – videos and articles discussing the history, significance, and celebration of Juneteenth, from The National Museum of African American History & Culture
Teaching Juneteenth – an educational resource for parents, educators, and other youth-service providers on teaching young people about the hard history surrounding Juneteenth while also empowering them to be advocates for change. From Teaching Tolerance, a project of The Southern Poverty Law Center.
“The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” – a famous speech by Frederick Douglass about the paradox of July 4 as Independence Day during slavery; Juneteenth is also known as Black Independence Day.
Explore Juneteenth through our physical and digital collections and online resources. Click here to see what is available through our online catalog.