This Sunday marks the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth, a holiday known well to African Americans across the United States and one every American should be uplifting and out celebrating with their community this weekend.

The history of Juneteenth, according to The National Museum of African American History & Culture, is as follows:

“On ‘Freedom’s Eve,’ or the eve of January 1, 1863, the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect. At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom in Confederate States. Only through the Thirteenth Amendment did emancipation end slavery throughout the United States.

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as ‘Juneteenth,’ by the newly freed people in Texas.”

To learn more about this important holiday, click here for our Juneteenth explainer by Adia Atwell


Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in Jersey City

Join the community in celebrating Juneteenth all weekend long in Jersey City!


Juneteenth Celebration Live Virtual Reading

Where: Jersey City Public Library on Facebook

When: Friday, June 17, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Author Opal Lee, also known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” will read and lead a discussion of her book, “Juneteenth: A Children’s Story” over Facebook Live. This is a free virtual event open to all ages.

[source https://jepl-cep.bc.sirsidynix.net/event/juneteenth-celebration/]


Juneteenth Journey to Freedom Grab and Go Crafts

Where: Jersey City Public Library – multiple branches

When: Friday, June 17, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – West Bergen Branch – 546 West Side Ave.

Tuesday, June 21, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Heights Branch – 14 Zabriskie St.

Pick up Juneteenth-themed kids’ grab-and-go crafts kits from select JCPL locations, available while supplies last.

[source https://jepl-cep.bc.sirsidynix.net/]


African Cultural Arts Family Festival

Where: Berry Lane Park

When: Saturday, June 18, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. 

Sponsored by the Office of Cultural Affairs and African Cultural Arts Committee of Jersey City, head over to Berry Lane Park for an evening of music, activities for the kids, shopping from African vendors, and information from community organizations all gathered in celebration of the African diaspora.

juneteenth Jersey City
[source https://www.jerseycityculture.org/event/african-cultural-arts-family-festival-3/]


Just Between Us: Live Panel & Networking Event

Where: Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Ave.

When: Saturday, June 18, 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 pm

Visit Mana Contemporary for a day of networking with creatives and panel discussions from trailblazers in different industries who grew up in New Jersey. Panel discussions include: entrepreneurship, fashion, social justice, finance, entertainment, wellness, nightlife, and more. Event includes a live DJ, open wine bar, food, and interactive art exhibits. An RSVP grants entry to the networking portion of the event but there is limited space for the panel discussions (approx.: 60 seats). The networking space is open to all.

juneteenth Jersey City
[source https://posh.vip/e/just-between-us-a-live-panel-networking-event and https://www.juneteenth-nj.com/events/justbetweenus]


Juneteenth: Gallery Party

Where: Sip Studios – 140 Sip Ave.

When: Saturday, June 18, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. 

Celebrate Black photographers, artists, and vendors with URE Media in honor of Juneteenth.

juneteenth Jersey City
[source https://www.eventbrite.com/e/juneteenth-gallery-party-tickets-295034775957]


Still We Rise Juneteenth Celebration Annual Festival

Where: Lincoln Park

When: Sunday, June 19, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Join the community organization, Build More Unity, in Lincoln Park on Juneteenth proper for the Still We Rise Juneteenth Celebration Annual Festival – a family-friendly day of live music, free food, games for children, DJ performances, lectures, dancing, and more. Special guests include Petey x Kraze, DJ Flamez, and Bank’s Italian Ice giving out free treats to the community.

juneteenth Jersey City
[flyer found here: https://www.instagram.com/buildmoreunity/]


How to Support Beyond Juneteenth

The significance of Juneteenth extends beyond one day in June, especially when it comes to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. If you’re looking to make a difference in the BLM within Jersey City, EverythingJerseyCity.com has compiled an extensive Black Lives Matter resource center – including toolkits, who to follow on Instagram, lists of Black-owned business to support, and more – that inform you how to be an ally and make a change in your own neighborhood. 

Happy Juneteenth! Make sure to tag us in all of the fun you’re having this weekend on Instagram with @everythingjerseycity and #everythingjerseycity.