Peninsula localities are planning several programs and events to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday on June 19.
Colonial Williamsburg is partnering with the city of Williamsburg, College of William & Mary, and the Let Freedom Ring Foundation on a series of events honoring the end of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865 that U.S. forces announced emancipation in Texas, leading to the end of slavery.
The Historic Area’s events begin at 10 am on Saturday, June 19 on Market Square with music and a keynote address by Professor Robert Watson of Hampton University on the meaning of Juneteenth. Colonial Williamsburg is also planning a cookout featuring Black culinary dishes, oral history presentations, and other special performances, including a virtual program live streamed by William & Mary.
“Juneteenth is an important moment in our nation’s history,” said Williamsburg Mayor Douglas Pons. “It started a critical conversation that this country has yet to complete. The City of Williamsburg is honored to continue that dialogue in this commemoration.”
Jamestown Settlement will host an outdoor program at 2pm on June 19 in commemoration of Juneteenth with music, dance, and other entertainment.
In Hampton, visitors can learn more about Juneteenth and celebrate African American heritage through an African American cultural tour that includes stops at Fort Monroe, the Casemate Museum, the Hampton History Museum, the Hampton University campus, the Little England Chapel, and Aberdeen Gardens. For more information, visit https://www.visithampton.com/juneteenth-in-hampton/.
Meanwhile, Newport News is celebrating Juneteenth with a variety of programming both virtual and in-person over multiple days. There will be a screening of the original theatrical show “A Journey to Freedom: A Juneteenth Production” at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center on Wickham Avenue on Friday, June 18 from 7pm to 9pm. On Saturday, June 19, the city will hold a Freedom Festival from noon to 4pm at King-Lincoln Park on Jefferson Avenue featuring live music, food and craft vendors, and other family activities throughout the afternoon. Celebrations will also include a Juneteenth Block Party at Contemporary Arts Network on Warwick Boulevard. For a complete list of Newport News Juneteenth events, visit https://www.nnva.gov/2663/Juneteenth.