A Celebration of Juneteenth banner

“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863...

The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members…

A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Rodeosfishingbarbecuing, and baseball are just a few of the typical Juneteenth activities you may witness today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self-improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations…

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.” – Juneteenth.com

The Pitt community is encouraged to actively engage in the recognition and celebration of Juneteenth.  A selection of programs and activities, open to all, are detailed below for consideration.

Review this guide created by the University Library System to commemorate Juneteenth.

Black Emancipation: A History of Celebration - Freedom celebrations are essential to understanding the history, culture, and politics of the African American experience. While the emancipation from enslavement varied over time and in place in North America, freedom celebrations have been consistently as a source of pride and demonstration of culture. Whether in the Haiti, other nations in the West Indies, or in states in the Unites States, the celebration of Black Emancipation has been serves as a tool to uplift and progress the collective history of Black people. Join our panel as they discuss the history of Black Emancipation celebrations including Juneteenth, and the legacy and impact on the greater Pittsburgh community.

From Swing Low To Strange Fruit: The Sounds Of Liberation - “From Swing Low to Strange Fruit” is a Juneteenth retrospective of the music of African American culture.  From the laments of spirituals to songs of pride, protest and freedom, music has been a major means of communication in Black culture. It has been the soundtrack of plans of escape from enslavement to celebration of freedom, and protest discrimination, lynchings, and police brutality. Featured acts will include gospel choirs, soloists and hip-hop artists.

Pittsburgh Events

June 11, 10AM – 1:30PM | Act 48: Juneteenth: From Slavery to Freedom

June 11 – 19 | Juneteenth celebration events hosted by Stop The Violence Pittsburgh

June 16, 1PM-5PM | Hazelwood Planned Parenthood “Juneteenth!”

June 18, 2PM-5PM | Pitt Juneteenth Block PartyRegister for the Block Party

June 20, 12:30PM-2:30PM | Macedonia FACE Juneteenth Book Jam

June 23, 6PM-8PM | Ebenezer Baptist Church Strings & Latin Jazz Concert