Juneteenth 2024

In 2023, Pitt volunteers fanned out through the community to help at neighborhood gardens, including this one in the Hill District.

Juneteenth Day of Service

Postponed due to severe heat. New date Friday, June 28, 2024

9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

KBK Trash Clean Up

Volunteers will be provided gloves, trash bags, and grabbers to pick up trash in this affordable housing complex. Please check the weather ahead of time, wear appropriate clothing and bring a water bottle. Transportation from Oakland will be provided and lunch will be served from 1 to 3 p.m.

Sign Up Here

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas received their freedom. It is now the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

It was on June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the American Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863.

The word "Juneteenth" was coined in the late 1890s and the celebration grew, especially in the Black community in the southern United States, then moved northward. It became more widely known nationally during the struggle for racial equality in the 1960s.

Historically, Juneteenth celebrations were a time for family members to re-commit themselves to freedom and the fight for equality. Rodeos, fishing derbies, barbecues, and baseball games were among the Juneteenth activities that became popular community events. In more recent history, Juneteenth has evolved into a celebration of Black American life featuring educational events and cultural activities.

In 2021, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making June 19 a federal holiday.

Although the University is closed on Juneteenth 2024, Pitt is hosting a celebration as well as a community volunteer event.

Juneteenth at the University of Pittsburgh

Community Events

Friday, June 7
Intersections of Race & Ableism: The Black Experience in Higher Education

This session offers space to discuss the intersections of ableism and racism and ways to leverage disability justice organizing as a step toward creating a space for Black students to thrive in higher education. It encompasses discussions on the transition to post-secondary education and the experiences of Black students within higher educational settings. (Virtual) Registration is now open.

Saturday June 15 & Sunday June 16
Stop the Violence Juneteenth Celebration

In-person: Downtown Pittsburgh

Pitt departments can sign up for time blocks to advertise and engage with the community. Participants will be provided a 6-ft table, chair and tent. Be prepared to distribute information and/or swag! Tabling signup is here.

For questions, contact Chance Wideman (chw246@pitt.edu) or Keith Caldwell (keith.caldwell@pitt.edu)

Tuesday, June 18
Equipoise Movie Night
In-person: WPU 630

Join members of the African American/Black staff and faculty Pitt Community, Equipoise, for a film screening of “American Fiction,” a 2023 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Cord Jefferson in his feature directorial debut. Based on the 2001 novel Erasure by Percival Everett, it follows a frustrated novelist-professor who writes an outlandish satire of stereotypical "Black" books, only for it to be mistaken for serious literature and published to high sales and critical praise. The film stars Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Sterling K. Brown, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody and Keith David.

Refreshments will be served during the movie, with a robust conversation to follow before Happy Hour at Spirits & Tales (The Oaklander)

Friday, June 21
Rooted in the Community: Collaboration service opportunity with OEDI, Pitt Serves, and the Engaged Campus

Volunteers can register for one of three service opportunities taking place in the Hill District between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.. Transportation will be provided from campus to each volunteer site. Pitt Serves will host a Lunch & Learn to discuss the purpose and importance of service following the event in WPU 548, 1 to 3 p.m.. Additional information will be provided to volunteers after they register through the PittServes Portal.

Additional Resources

The University Library System has created this guide for commemorating Juneteenth.