Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, 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. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.
Last September, Gov. Murphy signed a law making Juneteenth an official state holiday to be observed the third Friday in June and local towns are hosting celebrations.
Learn more about Juneteenth with these titles for children and adults available at Montclair Public Library and then attend a local Juneteenth celebration:
- Montclair businesses, organizations, and individuals have come together to produce a weeklong (June 14-19) series of events that will enlighten, entertain, and educate the community on JUneteenth. The schedule includes virtual and in-person events that will bring people together in solidarity and joy, following this long, difficult year.
- The Montclair African-American Heritage Foundation (MAAHF) & BDP Holdings are collaborating to celebrate Juneteenth with two Black Culture Classics from famed screenwriter & Montclair resident, Richard Wesley. Entry into the event begins at 7 pm and showtime begins at sundown. Don’t forget your chairs! Parking will be available at the Seymour Street deck or Bay Street parking lot. Although this is a free event, registration is encouraged.
- “Uptown Saturday Night” on Saturday, June 12 (rain date Sunday, June 13th). 1974 Black Culture Classic, with special guest, the movie’s film writer, and Montclair resident, Richard Wesley.
- “Let‘s Do It Again” on Saturday, June 19 (no rain date). 1975 Black Culture Classic, with special guest, the movie’s film writer, and Montclair resident, Richard Wesley.
- In honor of the Juneteenth holiday Montclair Brewery has collaborated with Harlem Hops craft beer bar to release its first ever Juneteenth dedicated beer–Jubilee. Montclair Brewery’s Juneteenth Celebration includes performances on June 19 on the brewery’s outdoor stage from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Newark Museum of Art will host Community Day: Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19 from 10 am–5 pm.
- Bloomfield will host a two-day family-friendly celebration beginning on Friday, June 18 at Bloomfield High School at 6 pm, with a conversation hosted by Bloomfield Civil Rights Commissioner and Board of Education member, Kasey Dudley. On Saturday, festivities will begin at 10 am at Bloomfield High School with an opening ceremony that includes the reading of the Juneteenth proclamation and comments from town officials, community leaders, and students. Following the ceremony, the Essex-Union marching band will lead a solidarity walk to Bloomfield College. At 12 pm, founders of the GiveBack Hair Show will be hosting a town-wide festival at Bloomfield Center (between Bloomfield Ave. and Lackawanna Pl.) that will include an array of local vendors, food, music, art, and more!
- Maplewood and South Orange have a full schedule of events celebrating Juneteenth.
- Empower the Village will present a Juneteenth weekend celebration and fundraiser with Black art, live musical performances, literature, refreshments, and an open bar at Montclair Art Museum on Saturday, June 19, and Sunday, June 20.
- Nutley will host its first annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19, between 1 pm and 4 pm at the Nutley Amvets Post 30, 184 Park Avenue.
- Join West Orange Township for a day-long celebration of JUneteenth on Saturday, July 19 from 10 am–6 pm.