Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” marks the date of June 19, 1865, the day a group of enslaved people in Texas finally learned they were free.
Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but it wasn’t until two years later that the news had finally circulated all the way around the country.
Today, communities around the country celebrate this federal holiday with food, family and joy.
Here are some celebrations to participate in around Northern Kentucky.
Where: Florence First Annual Juneteenth Event – String Town Park, 7340 Burlington Pike, Florence
When: Monday, June 19, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
What: Hosted by For Family By Family and the city of Florence, the event features a proclamation, memorial and education event at 10 a.m. at the site of the first African American church in Florence at 21 Girard Street (First Baptist Church). The theme is “Discover Your Roots,” and festivities follow in Spring Town Park with live DJ, food, local community agency and vendor booths, face painting and arts activities.
Where: Northern Kentucky Juneteenth Celebration – Newport History Museum at Southgate Street School, 215 E. Southgate St., Newport
When: Friday, June 16, 5 to 10 p.m.
What: Hosted by the Newport History Museum located inside the former Southgate Street School, this event includes displays, exhibits, a tour of the museum as well as community organizations, food and business booths. For more info, see “Newport History Museum at the Southgate Street School” on Facebook or contact [email protected].
Where: Juneteenth Parade – A parade starts at Lincoln Grant Scholar House, 824 Greenup St., Covington.
When: Saturday, June 17, 10 a.m. to 11a.m., followed by celebration throughout the day until 11 p.m. (see parts of the event below).
What: Marchers will gather near Randolf Park at Robbins and Prospect streets and follow a route to Covington Plaza. The event is sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Juneteenth Committee. Activities throughout the day include an awards ceremony as well as food vendors, entertainment, presentations and booths from community organizations and area businesses. For more information, contact Phyllis Tyler at (859) 652-4978 or Dee Roetting at (859) 760-1081.
Where: Northern Kentucky CAC Juneteenth Celebration – Lincoln Grant Scholar House, 824 Greenup St., Covington (near Randolph Park)
When: Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Free event with food, community group tables and merchandise vendors, performances including African dance and a panel discussion. Hosted by the Northern Kentucky Community Action Coalition, partnering with St. Elizabeth Healthcare. See “3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration” on Facebook or contact [email protected] for more information.
Where: Northern Kentucky Juneteenth Committee Outdoor Juneteenth Celebration – Covington Landing, 10 East Rivercenter Blvd., Covington
When: Saturday, June 17, 8 to 11 p.m.
What: Free outdoor concert with the 2nd Wind Band. For info, see “Outdoor Juneteenth Celebration featuring 2nd Wind Band” on Facebook. Hosted by the Northern Kentucky Junteenth Committee.
Where: Juneteenth Celebration – First Baptist Church, 1007 Garvey Ave., Elsmere
When: Sunday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What: Hosted by First Baptist Church, the event starts with a parade beginning at the corner of Dixie Highway and Garvey Avenue and proceeding down Garvey to the church. Attendees are invited to join in an outside, communitywide church service at 11 a.m. followed by food, music and celebration.
If you know of other Juneteenth celebrations that we missed, email us at [email protected] and we’ll update this article.