North Carolina celebrates Juneteenth for first time since federal recognition

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Saturday, June 19, 2021
Raleigh celebrates first federally observed Juneteenth
Parade and other events honor Juneteenth in Raleigh and surrounding areas.

Communities across central North Carolina came out to celebrate Juneteenth for the first time as a federal holiday.

In Downtown Raleigh, visual artist Kiara Sanders used her creative mind to transform the State Capitol grounds for this Juneteenth.

Her sketches represent formerly enslaved Black luminaries with ties to this historic site.

"I feel like there is no other thing I would rather be doing than this, and just pay homage and honor to my ancestors by doing my life's work which is art," Sanders said.

Her artistic expression shines a light on a handful of freed men and women. Among those honored Saturday, distinguished author, activist, educator and scholar Dr. Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, a St. Augustine's University alum, and Abraham Galloway, born a slave and mixed race, he became a Union spy in the civil war, and later one of the first African Americans to be elected to the North Carolina general assembly.

June 19th or Freedom Day commemorates the moment slaves in Texas finally learned of their freedom IN 1865 -two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

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photos courtesy of Mathias Bishop

Below is a list of other Juneteenth events around central North Carolina:


June 19: Celebrate Freedom

Join the celebration at the Sertoma Amphitheater at Bond Park. From 1 pm - 2:30 pm, enjoy music, dance, spoken word, and more in this free family event. On the evening prior, the columns of the Cary Art Center will be lit in red, yellow, and green to honor the heritage and meaning of the day.


June 19: 16th Annual NC Juneteenth Celebration

A fun-filled, educational, and uplifting event that includes entertainment, food, vendors, health fair, kids zone, fashion show, and more! This annual event takes place along East Main Street (between Roxboro and Dillard Streets) from 1 pm - 10 pm.


June 18 - 20: NC Museum of Art's Commemorating Juneteenth 2021

Join the NCMA for a weekend of music, family activities, films, and discussions honoring the history of Juneteenth. The weekend will kick-off with a live outdoor performance by three-time Grammy-nominated artists Sweet Honey In the Rock. Saturday will follow with a family story time, book discussion, and acclaimed documentary screenings. The weekend concludes in a joint celebration of Black Music Month live from the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater in Museum Park on Sunday. Liberation Station, a bookstore, focuses on books representing children of color and has a pop-up at the museum. Owner Victoria Scott-Miller said they'll have two in-person story times for Juneteenth at the museum amphitheater on Saturday at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Below are other Juneteenth celebrations happening across our viewing area. For more or to submit an event happening in your community, please visit the ABC11 Community Calendar.


June 19: 2021 Juneteenth Event

The Depot, located at 220 N. Salem Street will be filled with food trucks, performances and games for the whole family to enjoy as Apex celebrates Freedom Day.

Chapel Hill

June 18: Juneteenth Kickoff Celebration (online)

The Town of Chapel Hill kickoffs its celebration with a virtual video premiere featuring performances and remarks. The program begins at 7 pm.

June 19: Juneteenth Motorcade

Join in the spirit of Juneteenth by decorating your car and driving through some of Chapel Hill's and Carrboro's historic Black communities. There are two starting points and cars are asked to arrive by 3:30 pm.

June 19: Juneteenth Save the Music Series

Enjoy the music in downtown Chapel Hill as four African-American artists perform along Franklin Street from 6 pm - 8 pm.


June 19: Juneteenth at Stagville

On Juneteenth, Historic Stagville invites visitors to remember emancipation and explore the history of the struggle for freedom on one of North Carolina's largest plantations. Outdoor guided tours will be offered at various times throughout the day. Registration is required, but admission and tours are free for all.


June 19: Juneteenth Freedom Festival Live (online)

Celebrate African-American culture in this virtual festival. The event features live music, speakers, workshops, vendors, and more. Free registration.


June 16: Juneteenth: A Story of Freedom (online)

Join the NC Museum of History via Zoom in an insightful conversation to examine the history behind this holiday and reveal why its celebration is more important now than ever. They will also explore North Carolina's special connections to the historic event and share details about Raleigh's inaugural Juneteenth Celebration.

June 16 - 20: The Inaugural Capital City Juneteenth Celebration

With the theme, "Preserving Our Heritage, Moving It Forward", a combination of virtual and in-person events are planned that include chalk drawings at The State Capitol and an afternoon of music, dance, presentations, and more.

June 18 - 20: Juneteenth: A Celebration of Emancipation with the Pope Family

Celebrate the legacy of emancipation at the Pope House Museum, the historic home of Dr. Manassa T. Pope and his family. The museum will be hosting a three-day long celebration featuring rare artifacts, special guest speakers, exclusive guided tours, and various activity stations. Self-guided tours of both the Pope House Museum and Dr. Pope's Neighborhood Historic 3rd Ward Tour are available. The event is free and open to the public! Location: 511 S Wilmington St, Raleigh

June 19: Raleigh Juneteenth Festival

This inaugural event strives to bring the community together for fun, education, and fellowship. The event will feature local Black-owned businesses, music, food, and activities for everyone. Location: 2235 Garner Road, Raleigh.

June 19: Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration

The O.A.S.I.S. Foundation of NC and Alta Community Action Association host an afternoon full of fun, food, music, and culture. Location: MLK Memorial Gardens and The Platinum Event Center, 10 am - 5 pm


June 19: Morrisville's Celebration

Celebrate the emancipation and the achievements of Morrisville's African-American community in a day of speakers, proclamations, food, activities, music, and more! Location: Cedar Fork Community Center, 10 am - 2 pm

Rocky Mount

June 18 - 19: Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival

The Juneteenth Community Empowerment Festival is back! On Friday, enjoy a block-party at the corner of Washington and Tarboro streets in downtown Rocky Mount from 6 pm - 10 pm. The event continues on Saturday beginning at 11 am with a festival at the Helen P. Gay Rocky Mount Historic Train Station.


June 19: The History of Juneteenth

Join the conversation with local leader Yolanda Taylor at the new Wilson Arts Center from 12 pm - 2 pm.

June 26: Wilson's Juneteenth 5th Annual Street Festival

Located in the 500 East Nash Street block of the city, the day will feature local performances, speakers, vendors, a kids' area, and more. The event runs from 10 am - 7 pm