ATLANTA — It's the third year that the nation will recognize June 19, or Juneteenth, as a federal holiday -- but it has been a celebration in Georgia long before it gained national attention.
Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States following the Civil War. The holiday, also dubbed "Freedom Day" celebrates liberation and a step toward equality. It is also used to reflect upon history and navigate progress to create an equitable society.
Early celebrations were often focused on prayer and family unity but have now grown to be full-blown festivals and parades.
Here are a few places you can celebrate Freedom Day in Atlanta.
If you have a Juneteenth celebration you'd like to add to this list, email details to email@example.com
Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival
An Atlanta staple since 2012, Juneteenth Atlanta is a beloved gathering that will feature a pageant, family reunions, and "edutainment" -- educational entertainment. Such programs include double dutch, with the founder of Over Forty Double Dutch Club helping turn the ropes and Afro Atlanta, a natural hair show. People can even witness a world-record-breaking drum circle.
It's going to be a weekend-long affair that promises to be a high-spirited celebration of freedom, unity and equality. People can learn more about the festival by visiting juneteenthatl.com.
Centennial Olympic Park
Friday, June 16 | 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
Saturday, June 17 | 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
*Juneteenth parade day
Sunday, June 18 | 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
5K Freedom Run
Runners, lace up your shoes: Juneteenth Atlanta is featuring a 5K Freedom Run.
Participants will get on their marks at Centennial Olympic Park Sunday, June 18.
Juneteenth Atlanta invites anyone who wants to run "for freedom, liberty, human rights, social justice, judicial reform and world peace."
Registration is still open and costs $35. Details about the route and tickets can be found here.
Juneteenth 2023: Planted
With its event "Juneteenth 2023: Planted" the center will honor the history of Black genealogy and agricultural practices. Organizers said it will be an immersive experience featuring interactive crafts, food, and workshops that "will provide valuable insights into the history of Juneteenth and offer tips on how to research your family tree and preserve family artifacts."
The center says the event is suitable for all ages. To expedite the check-in process, organizers recommend pre-registering here. The event is free.
Sunday, June 18 | 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Atlanta History Center Buckhead Campus
Around Sound: CTS Juneteenth Jubilee
Promising to be an unforgettable show, Challenge the Stats and Concerts at First are partnering with The Atlanta Opera to present a concert that empowers artists of color.
Featuring acclaimed soprano Indra Thomas and accomplished cellist and composer Okorie "OK Cello" Johnson, the show will bring together diverse singers from around metro Atlanta to form a community choir to perform for this special event.
Tickets are not required by RSVPs are encouraged and can be made using this link.
Saturday, June 17 | 8 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta
Celebration of Juneteenth at Historic Oakland Cemetery
The Historic Oakland Foundation will honor the generations that suffered under enslavement and celebrate Atlanta's rich legacy of Black history, culture and achievement, according to event organizers.
The free, family-friendly Juneteenth event will include a libation ceremony performed by the Big Bethel A.M.E. Heaven Bound Choir at the historic African American Burial Grouns at 11 a.m. A libations ceremony is a pouring of a liquid to honor one's ancestors.
People can also pay witness to storyteller LaDoris Bias-Davis who will share stories from the Gullah Geechee culture. There will also be a food truck, vendor marker, a children's craft area and people can opt to get a free walking tour.
Saturday, June 17 | 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Historic Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta's Juneteenth mural
A giant Juneteenth mural, featuring the work of a local Black artist, is now flashing on some of Atlanta's most visible real estate.
The Juneteenth mural marks the latest collaboration between Georgia's Own and local artists. This work features the design of C. Flux Sing which is flashing on the electronic canvas atop the 100 Peachtree building.
Learn where you can spot it and more about the meaning behind the mural in this story.
City of Brookhaven celebrates Juneteenth
Brookhaven will use the federal holiday to debut Historic Lynwood Park monument signs on Monday.
It's the first historic designation made by the city, marking the first Black subdivision in DeKalb County.
On Monday, June 19, the city will shed light on the resilience and heritage of the African American community with an unveiling of the monument sign. A special tribute will be done by Cross Keys High School to the Lynwood Trailblazers.
Monday, June 19 | 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Cobb County NAACP 20th Juneteenth celebration
Cobb County's NAACP is inviting people to pay tribute to the forced sacrifices of the enslaved while also marking the end of slavery in the U.S. with its 20th Juneteenth celebration.
It will be a weekend-long affair with an Evening Under the Stars in Marietta Square kicking off the events on Friday night and its flagship all-day celebration Saturday. All events are free.
Here's a full list of events hosted across the county.
Evening Under the Stars
Friday, June 16 | 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Tickets can be reserved here.
Saturday, June 17 | 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Salute to Heroes/Father's Day
Sunday, June 18 | 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
StoryWalk in Dunwoody
People who would want to stroll through Dunwoody Nature Center or Brook Run Park can read about the origins of Juneteenth.
The city's parks and recreation organized a StoryWalk that features "A Flag for Juneteenth" which will be available through June. It was written and illustrated by expert quilter Kim Taylor who shares a powerful story of the first Juneteenth celebration from the perspective of a young girl. While on a walk, people can read page by page the story of how the holiday came to be.
Lorraine Stage Play in Austell
For one weekend only, the Lorraine Stage Play will take place at the Riverside EpiCenter.
The production will bring to life the historic Lorraine Motel in metro Atlanta for Juneteenth weekend. The Memphis landmark is etched in many of memories as the place where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The play will highlight the historic tales of the Black travelers and prominent artists that stayed there while staying in Memphis. The production features several prominent entertainers including the late Harry Belafonte and the late Tina Turner.
Black fatherhood, Juneteenth celebrations Sandy Springs
As Father's Day intersects with the city's annual Juneteenth event, this year organizers are adding a twist by celebrating Black fatherhood through culture and community.
"Black men fought courageously during the civil war to earn many of the freedoms that we hold today," the Juneteenth Federation said in a statement. "These same Black men later became the architects of Greenwood, Oklahoma, Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia, and Eatonville, Florida, among the many thriving Black communities that followed reconstruction. If there’s ever a time to celebrate this legacy, it is on June 18th, when Juneteenth and Fathers’ Day intersect."
Pastor Henry Bush of Sharon Community Church UMC, the first Black church in Sandy Springs, will open with inspiring words of faith in the fight for freedom. The event will be followed by performances by Djoli Kelen, Inc., Southside Soul, and others. There will also be live music, a daddy-and-daughter dance competition, and a lot of fun.
Sunday, June 18 | 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
City Green at 1 Galambos Way
Juneteenth Music Festival in Stockbridge
Enjoy a freedom celebration filled with Jazz, Blues and Soul on Juneteenth.
It will be a free festival with musical acts such as Bobby Rush, Millie Jackson, Lenny Williams among others among food trucks and area vendors.
Festival attendees can bring small coolers with food and beverage, including alcohol however glass containers are not allowed. Some musical acts could be deemed mature for some audience, organizers warned.
Monday, June 19 | 3 p.m.
*Gates open 1 p.m.
City of South Fulton Juneteenth Celebration
With family as the focus, event organizers are inviting families to enjoy a day of fun, food and fireworks. Craft and good vendors will be available as well as live entertainment and even carnival rides. People can register for the event here.
Sunday, June 18 | 2 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Powder Springs Community Celebration and Unity Walk
From puppetry, live bands, to a unity message - Powder Springs invites everyone to its free Juneteenth event.
This year's celebration will feature the history of African American Motorcycle Culture and motorcycle show. Event organizers said there will be a Unity Youth Hour so young festival goers can experience the storytelling of Juneteenth history as well as African Dance and a unity walk. Of course, guests can support local food vendors and artisans showing off their crafts.
Saturday, June 17 | 2 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Thurman Springs Park
Below is a recap of last year's event.
United Ebony Society Juneteenth Celebration and Music Festival
The United Ebony Society is taking over Lawrenceville to celebrate freedom and community.
Its annual event will host games, good, storytelling and fun-filled presentations to add an educational edge to its entertainment. People can get more information on the festival by visiting its website.
The United Ebony Society is also compiling a list of Black-owned businesses in Gwinnett County. Business owners can submit their information here.
Saturday, June 17 | 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
Rhodes Jordan Park
Forest Park Juneteenth Celebration
Families and residents can enjoy an outdoor Juneteenth celebration.
Live music will fill the Starr Park Amphitheater. People can expect performances from Ayanna & Flow, Tony Tatuma, comedian Raheem Holt, Rey Sunshine, Manga African Dance and more.
Eventgoers could also explore local craft vendors, food trucks and stay for a fireworks show. There will also be a play zone for children. The best part: it's free.
Saturday, June 17 | 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Starr Park Amphitheater
Rejoice! It's Emancipation Day in Riverdale
Commissioner Felicia Franklin is inviting constituents to celebrate Juneteenth at with a free event.
Beyond music and dance, the event will feature art and a discussion on healthcare disparities and African American history. A health fair will also help connect families to resources.
Saturday, June 17 | 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Program begins at 5 p.m.
Flint River Community Center
Stonecrest Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom
Celebrating for a second year, Stonecrest promises a bigger and better festival of freedom and community.
Featuring giveaways, food, music, dance and spoken word -- this event sets itself apart by offering a petting zoo and kids' fun zone complete with bounce houses. It's free to attendees and it is encouraged people stick around for the fireworks display.
Honoring the holiday's history, there will also be a special appearance by the Black Buffalo Soldiers.
Attendees are welcome to bring their coolers, umbrellas, lawn chairs and blankets to the Southeast Athletic Complex. However, pets and weapons are prohibited.
Saturday, June 17 | 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Southeast Athletic Complex
Do you have a Juneteenth event to add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org