Juneteenth events and ceremonies in Delaware are underway.

Delaware Juneteenth celebrations run throughout month

Jarek RutzCulture, Headlines

Juneteenth events and ceremonies in Delaware are underway.

Juneteenth events and ceremonies in Delaware are underway.

The First State has a number of events and ceremonies to celebrate and honor a newly-established federal holiday in mid-June. 

Juneteenth, short for June 19, is a holiday that celebrates June 19, 1865. That day, Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his officers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free any remaining slaves.

It was two months after the Civil War had ended, and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. 

The date became a national holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, making the day America’s 12th federal holiday. 

A flag raising ceremony kicked off the celebrations Monday at Route 9 Library and Innovation Center in Wilmington.

Other Juneteenth events include:

  • The Chase Center in Wilmington is holding a Juneteenth Gala Sunday, June 11 at 5 p.m. Cost will be $100 per person or $750 per table of 8. Proceeds go towards the Juneteenth Family Enrichment Program that hosts the Delaware Miss Juneteenth Pageant.
  • Delaware Historical and Cultural Affairs is hosting “Mock Freedom: Delaware’s Black Codes” Saturday, June 17 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at ​​Zwaanendael Park in Lewes, adjacent to the Zwaanendael Museum. It centers on the discriminatory laws passed in Delaware from the 18th to 20th centuries. Using primary sources and other historic examples, historian Alex Rumm and participants will explore this part of Delaware’s legal history and the lasting ramifications. Admission is free.
  • The Juneteenth Freedom Festival and Parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17 at Tubman-Garrett Park on Rosa Parks Drive in Wilmington. The parade will bring life to the city with local dance groups, drum corps, floats and elected officials participating. Admission is free. 
  • Juneteenth celebration at Winterthur starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17 at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. A variety of storytellers, musicians, and dancers will celebrate the day. Performances of The Whitney Project’s “A Celebration of Black Joy” will take place at 11 am and 3 pm in
    Copeland Lecture Hall inside Winterthur’s Visitor Center. Through storytelling and music, the experience celebrates the joy that can be found in the lives of people of color throughout their history in America. Click here to buy tickets for the performance. There will also be the World Marketplace in Enchanted Woods, which is included in the general admission tickets.
  • The Delaware Art Museum is hosting “Beyond Juneteenth Ancestors Festival: Afrosympoesium & Expo” Sunday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event celebrates the ancestral traditions of the enslaved and the accomplishments of their descendants. This year’s festival is focused on the education, healing, protection and adaptation of the human spirit. Admission is free. 
  • Milford’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration starts at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 19. There will be live music, food and games. The event is at Bicentennial Park at 206 NE Front Street.
  • The Sussex Family YMCA is kicking the celebration off at 11 a.m. with a presentation about the holiday. After that, there’s a barbecue cookout, followed by games and a moon-bounce and an open swim.  The free event is at 0080 Church Street, Rehoboth Beach.
  • Historic Odessa Foundation’s “Freedom Seekers: The Odessa Story” is on Monday, June 19 at  2 p.m. It is free to the public and visitors will have the opportunity to have their silhouette cut in the method typical at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and will discover how the camera obscura was used to create profile likenesses for posterity.
  • Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church in Wilmington will have a Juneteenth Observance Monday, June 19 at 5 p.m. Admission is free. 
  • The 26th Delaware Juneteenth Pageant is Saturday, June 24 at 5 p.m. at the Grand Opera House. Every year, starting in January, girls from ages eight through 18 attend six months of workshops that include Juneteenth & African American history, modeling and public speaking, etiquette, spirituality, self-image and essay writing.  They also prepare to participate in the pageant where girls aged 15 to 18 compete for the title of Miss Juneteenth. The winner goes on to compete for the national title of Miss Juneteenth.

Is an event from your organization not in this article? Contact Jarek Rutz at (215) 450-9982 or [email protected] to get it added to the list.

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