Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth This Year

Image of three people holding signs, with text "Celebrating Juneteenth. Celebrate. Liberate. Educate."


What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the emancipation of enslaved people, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. This historic day, a portmanteau of the words "June" and "nineteenth," began as a celebration in Texas's African American communities and has now become a cherished federal holiday nationwide. 

Our American Story - Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture 

This marks the second year that Alameda County has observed Juneteenth as a federal holiday with the closures of all county buildings and services. In honor of this important holiday, we continue to offer programs that celebrate freedom and educate about the history of enslavement and inequity.  

What are some ways to celebrate Juneteenth?  

Beyond celebrating freedom and joy, Juneteenth is an opportunity to read and think critically about the legacy of chattel slavery that Black people in North America, South America, and the Caribbean endured.  It’s a time to acknowledge the obstacles African Americans have overcome amid ongoing inequality while sustaining many vibrant cultural traditions.  

A beginner’s guide to celebrating Juneteenth | PBS NewsHour 

Coding Through Quilts  

One important cultural tradition was the use of quilting and encoding within fabric designs messages that enslaved people used to keep each other safe. The shapes, symbols, and colors of quilts were used to spread information about safe houses, warn against dangerous areas to avoid, and could be a kind of map for enslaved people seeking to escape their captors and seek freedom. 

Underground Railroad Quilt Codes: What We Know, What We Believe, and What Inspires Us 

Celebrate Juneteenth at AC Library 

Join us at Alameda County Library to participate in special programming and craft kits that honor Juneteenth! 


Celebrate Juneteenth in Alameda County 

Attend Juneteenth events open to the public at these locations throughout Alameda County! 


Book Lists 

Learn more about the history of Juneteenth with these book lists available at Alameda County Library.  

Jubilee Day!

Celebrate Jubilee Day or Juneteenth with reading recommendations from Alameda County Library! Learn the history behind this federal holiday through these books written for children. Click on the titles to learn more about these selections.

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Juneteenth Jubilee - Quilt Codes and the Underground Railroad

Oral histories passed down through generations tell the story of secret codes sewn into quilts that helped direct enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad. To read more about quilt codes and story quilts, the Underground Railroad, and the significance of quilts throughout Black history, check out the books below.

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