Juneteenth is right around the corner, and expected to become a federal holiday soon.
The holiday, already observed by the State of Delaware and the City of Wilmington, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Officially, it’s the day the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were told about the Emancipation Proclamation two years after it was issued, in June 1865.
Not so fun Delaware fact: The Emancipation Proclamation did not apply here, as Delaware was a border state between the North and South. Consequently, as many as 2,000 people remained enslaved in Delaware until the passage of the 13th Amendment in December 1965, six months after the original Juneteenth.
There are lots of ways to celebrate the symbolic end of slavery in the United States in Delaware, including festivals, historical and educational events, and even a Juneteenth Entrepreneurial Expo. Here are a few ways you can spend the holiday:
- Juneteenth Celebration in the Park — Juneteenth caravan starts at 10:30 a.m. at Christina Park, Fourth and Church streets
- Juneteenth Festival in Rodney Square — Performances by KRS-One, Take 6, Richard Raw and the Word Warrior Band, Nadjah Nicole, Twin Poets and Best Kept Soul, plus a live mural painting by Ted Ellis from 12 to 6 p.m.
- Delaware Freedom Ride — Join Urban Bike Project and Delaware Greenways for a 15-mile ride retracing the path of the Underground Railroad, starting at 311 Delaware Ave. in New Castle at 8:30 a.m.
- Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival — Live performances, food trucks arts and craft vendors and art therapy with 7God at the Delaware Art Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Juneteenth Celebration — Live dance presentation, food truck, spoken word performance, fashion show shopping with Wilmington teen-owned businesses at The Warehouse, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Juneteenth Entrepreneurial Expo — Dance, fashion and an entrepreneur panel from 1 to 5 p.m. at Ezion Fair Wholeness Center in Wilmington
- Juneteenth Block Party — At the Walnut Street YMCA in Wilmington from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Juneteenth at Books & Bagels — Check out the West Side’s new book store in The Launchpad space on Seventh Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Juneteenth: Neptunes Night at The Queen — DJ dance party starting at 7 p.m.
And after Juneteenth, check out Delaware Juneteenth History on Monday, June 21, at 6 p.m. Join the inaugural Miss National Juneteenth, the Delaware Juneteenth Association and the Delaware Historical Society for a presentation.