Celebrating the Historical Legacy of Juneteenth: What to Do in Jacksonville

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. Freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.

Publishers throughout the North responded to a demand for copies of Lincoln’s proclamation and produced numerous decorative versions, including this engraving by R. A. Dimmick in 1864. 
Publishers throughout the North responded to a demand for copies of Lincoln’s proclamation and produced numerous decorative versions, including this engraving by R. A. Dimmick in 1864.
The post-emancipation period known as Reconstruction (1865-1877) marked an era of great hope, uncertainty, and struggle for the nation as a whole. Formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify families, establish schools, run for political office, push radical legislation and even sue slaveholders for compensation. Given the 200+ years of enslavement, such changes were nothing short of amazing. Not even a generation out of slavery, African Americans were inspired and empowered to transform their lives and their country.

Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Although it has long celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans.

Jacksonville started off slow with the celebrations but now the holiday has picked up speed with multiple events being held. In addition, city offices will be closed. Below are a host of Jacksonville celebrations for Juneteenth

Florida Black Excellence Fest Kicks Off a Weekend of Events

June 19 – 23 | 8:00 am – 5:00 pm – The organizers of the highly anticipated 2024 Florida Black Excellence Fest is an unwavering commitment to remain in line with their motto “New Face, New Place, New Standard…Excellence,” For a three-day weekend featuring the ‘40 under 40’, ‘Taste of Excellence’ and vendor fair.  For more info visit www.fbxfest.com.

City of Jacksonville

June 19 | 11:30 a.m.  – The City of Jacksonville will recognize Juneteenth during an 11:30 a.m. ceremony in the City Hall Atrium, 117 W. Duval Street. In addition city offices will be closed. For more info visit www.coj.net.

Juneteenth Celebration at the Beaches

June 19 | 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.   – A family-centric Juneteenth celebration will be held at Rhoda L. Martin Cultural Heritage Center, 376 Fourth St. S., Jacksonville Beach. For more info visit www.rhodamartin.com

El-Beth-El Development Center Stop the Violence Recognition Banquet

June 19 | 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm – The Officers and Board members of The El-Beth-El Development Center will host its 15th Annual “Stop the Violence Recognition” Banquet on Wednesday, June 19th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rites Cathedral, 29 West 6th Street. Since 2009, the event has honored dedicated individuals from the community for outstanding achievements, leadership and their contributions in helping Jacksonville build a stronger and healthier community. For tickets and more info contact El-Beth-El Divine Holiness Church at (904) 710-1586.

Juneteenth Bookstore Opening

June 19th |10 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Café Resistance Bookstores, 5007 Soutel Dr., Drop in from. to shop Black owns Business. Enjoy live music! Come learn about Black history, singing, dancing and breaking bread!  For more info call (904) 610-7103.

Juneteenth Happy Hour Celebration

June 19th | 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. – Laurens Seafood Blues & jazz will celebrate freedom on the patio!  Bring your chairs and enjoy cocktails, food, spoken word and more!  For more info call (904) 379-9232.

Juneteenth at the MOSH

June 19th | 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. – Juneteenth: Freedom Day Celebration at MOSH, 1025 Museum Circle. Join MOSH and the Jacksonville Arts and Music School (Jams) in celebrating Juneteenth. Experience West African dancing, history talks, and soulful jazz. For more info visit www.themosh.org

Juneteenth Ritz Players

June 19th | 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. – Join the Ritz Players inside JuTerry Concert Hall, Dolphin Dr., for their season finale concert, “Juneteenth: Celebrate Freedom – Journey Towards Freedom,” as they commemorate the historic day of Juneteenth, which signifies the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Through a vibrant and uplifting program, witness the spirit of freedom and pay tribute to the struggles and resilience of those who fought for liberation. Experience works that reflect the journey towards freedom, showcasing the power of music to heal, inspire, unite and honors the past and looks towards a future of continued progress and equality. For more info visit www.ritztheatre.org/the-ritz-players/

WineDown on Juneteenth

June 19th | 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. – WineDown: Juneteenth Edition at Glass Factory, 601 Myrtle Ave North. WineDown is going black pride with music and black history showcase. For more info www.theglassfactory.com.

Juneteenth Main Street Bridge Lighting

June 19th | 8 30 p.m. – Northside Coalition of Jacksonville is inviting the community to join them in lighting up the Main Street Bridge for Juneteenth at Friendship Fountain, 1015 Museum Circle.  Watch Red, Black and Green come alive! For more info visit www.northsidecoalitionofjacksonville.com.




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