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Juneteenth Seattle

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Celebrate Juneteenth around the Seattle area

Storytelling, a jamboree and other events to commemorate the abolition of slavery.

Celebrate Juneteenth in the Seattle area! It’s an annual event remembering the emancipation of slaves in the United States.

Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, freeing the slaves in the Confederate states. Union soldiers made their way through those states sharing the good news. Soldiers reached Texas (their final stop) on June 19, 1865, two years after the proclamation was made.

After hearing that slavery had been abolished, the Black former slaves of Texas celebrated with dance, songs and prayers.

Here are some things to do to celebrate Juneteenth around the Seattle area:

Northwest African American Museum (NAAM)
June 14 to 19

Celebrate with NAAM all week long with virtual events, storytelling, artist exhibits and more. End the week with the Jamboree, which includes family-fun events and recreation, along with visits from members of local sports teams. Visit the website for more details.

Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)
June 18

See the new exhibit “The Unspoken Truths.” Learn American history through an Afrocentric lens. Storytelling, artifacts and story boards will walk you through African-American history — from Africa to Jim Crow to the present day. See website for times and ticketing.

(Photo: MOHAI)

More things you can do …

  • Honor the day by cooking traditional foods – go Southern or celebrate with a red drink (a traditional symbol of perseverance). Many celebrate by drinking strawberry soda.
  • Read to your children about the history of slavery and about social justice. Choose books about heroes of the era, such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth.
  • Support Black-owned businesses.
  • Check with your local community to find celebratory gatherings, protests, meditation walks and speaker engagements.
  • Remember and reflect on American history while thinking of how far we need to go for equity and equality.

Check out the Seattle’s Child Calendar for more weekly events.

This story was first published on June 14, 2021.

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