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Commemorating Juneteenth

Although Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on 1 January 1863, and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865, slavery did not end for the approximately 250,000 Black Americans enslaved in Texas until Union Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 which he read from a balcony in Galveston, Texas on 19 June 1865. He then traveled throughout Texas that summer, spreading the word. Juneteenth commemorates this historic day and is an official state holiday in Virginia.

How might you mark Juneteenth this year? You could attend one of the Richmond-area events listed below, or you could follow the suggestion of Outdoor Afro and spend two and half hours outdoors this Saturday contemplating “What does freedom mean for me in America?” For more info, see their PDF.

Saturday Salutations: Juneteenth Celebration for All, June 19, 9-11 a.m. – In partnership with Project Yoga Richmond, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden presents a special event that will involve oral history and a yoga session. See the event page to reserve a spot.

Henrico County’s Juneteenth Celebration, June 19, 1-10 p.m. – Join Henrico Recreation & Parks at Dorey Park for fireworks, live music performances featuring Plunky & Oneness and Bak N Da Day, food trucks, a vendor fair, live history interpreters and games for kids.

Juneteenth in the Park @ Pocahontas State Park, June 19, 8a.m.-4p.m. – Food trucks, entertainment, vendors, self-guided activities that can be completed at your own pace, and much more. 

Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration 2021, June 27, 1-6pm
Later this month, on June 27, the Elegba Folklore Society will present, Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration. This event is considered Richmond’s flagship Juneteenth holiday commemoration. Held at Richmond’s African Burial Ground, it is reflective of Richmond and Virginia’s particular and poignant stories of enslavement and emancipation, and it highlights the resolve and resilience of Africa’s children in America.

June is Pride Month

Happy Pride Month, especially to any and all MLWGS Dragons who identify as LGBTQIA+!

Visit the MLWGS Library to check out the Pride Month display, featuring novels, memoirs, nonfiction, and poetry with LGBTQIA+ themes, by LGBTQIA+ authors, and/or about significant LGBTQIA+ people. Fiction selections include The Paths of Marriage, a novel by MLWGS alum Mala Kumar (Class of 2003).

Even though the return date for all library books is Friday, June 11th, there’s still time to read one of these books by then. Consider checking with your public library to see what titles they’re featuring for Pride Month too.

Pride Month display in the MLWGS Library. Sign design by Queens Public Library in Jamaica, NY.