Partners Celebrates Freedom Day

Celebrate Juneteenth

Gordon Granger’s public reading of General Order Number 3 in Galveston on June 19, 1865, was the last link in a chain of functional liberation started by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 with the unenforceable Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier.

“Juneteenth is a day to reflect on both bondage and freedom — a day of both pain and purpose.  It is, in equal measure, a remembrance of both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation, as well as a celebration of the promise of a brighter morning to come.  On Juneteenth, we remember our extraordinary capacity to heal, to hope, and to emerge from our worst moments as a stronger, freer, and more just Nation. It is also a day to celebrate the power and resilience of Black Americans, who have endured generations of oppression in the ongoing journey toward equal justice, equal dignity, equal rights, and equal opportunity in America.” Said President Biden when he signed A Proclamation on Juneteenth Day of Observance, 2022.

Some thoughtful and deliberate ways to reflect and celebrate are:


The Orange County (Fla.) Library System and the Orange County (Calif.) Public Libraries offer a selection of books for Juneteenth reading, including topics like religion, graphic novels, biographies and autobiographies, fiction, essays, self-help, and histories including The 1619 Project.

Art & Culture

The National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) offers an online Juneteenth experience. Explore their reading list, curated discography, and learn more about why red food and drink are special to Juneteenth in the Tastes of Experience section. They have children and youth resources, and church fan designs to create your own!


Your local library is recommending some great cookbooks for Juneteenth. Ask for Watermelon & red birds by Nicole A. Taylor. In 1866, the Black community of Galveston came together for BBQs, and Nicole is putting out just such a spread of recipes. Consider trying your hand at dishes like Beef Ribs with Fermented Harissa Sauce, Peach Jam and Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, Southern-ish Potato Salad and Cantaloupe and Feta Salad, and desserts like Roasted Nectarine Sundae, and Radish and Ginger Pound Cake.

Meals, music, and muses: recipes from my African American kitchen by Alexander Smalls, takes you on a culinary journey through the American South with Hoppin' John Cakes with Sweet Pepper Remoulade and Carolina Bourbon Barbecue Shrimp and Okra Skewers, and main dishes like Roast Quail in Bourbon Cream Sauce and Prime Rib Roast with Crawfish Onion Gravy.

You can visit NMAAHC’s Tastes of Resilience page to “Explore the symbolism of red foods as a sign of resilience and joy. The color red is highly associated with the cultures that would've come through the later years of the TransAtlantic slave trade, which would have been Yoruba and Kongo. People from the Yoruba of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo; and the Kongo of Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo and Gabon—placed great philosophical and spiritual value in the color red as it symbolizes sacrifice, transition and power.” 

NMAAHC’s Sweet Home Café has a cookbook available! You can purchase it here. You can also visit the café’s page to see what they are making for this Juneteenth.


With content like Hidden Figures and Summer of Soul and Company projects like Africa Story Lab, The Walt Disney Company champions storytelling that reflects the world around us and helps us develop meaningful relationships with genuine, authentic, and respectful stories that embrace different perspectives.

On Disney+, National Geographic offers Black Travel Across America. “Travel Consultant, Martinique Lewis, embarks on a journey to visit historically listed Green Book locations and modern black travel destinations.” The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African American travelers, published from 1936-1966. During the era of Jim Crow laws, Black travelers could legally be refused service at food service, lodging, and gas and automotive services not to mention arbitrary arrest and physical endangerment. The Green Book was a guide to finding Black-friendly establishments when traveling by automobile.


NMAAHC’s Sounds of Freedom page celebrates the ways slaves sung their way to freedom; visit the page to hear more.

June is also Black Music Month! The Presidential Proclamation establishing it reads, in part, “This month, we celebrate the songs and artists that challenge us to think critically, stand up to injustice, and believe in ourselves. We recommit to expanding the promise of dignity and opportunity for all Americans.  And we revel in the sounds, spirit, and soul of some of the very best music ever created.”  Use your favorite search engine to learn and listen more.

You can access stories, podcasts, and more related to Juneteenth as well as hundreds of other topics at Storycorp. According to their website, “StoryCorps believes that everyone has an important story to tell and that everyone’s story matters. Our mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since our founding in 2003, we’ve helped more than 630,000 people across the country have meaningful conversations about their lives. These recordings are collected in the U.S. Library of Congress and in our online archive which is now the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.” Just use the search function and enter “Juneteenth.”


General Order Number 3 forbad public gathering of formerly enslaved people. Instead, they celebrated near rivers and lakes, and eventually raised enough money collectively to purchase sites where they could gather, like Emancipation Park in Houston. Public gatherings are integral to Juneteenth. They were opportunities to reunite families ripped apart by slavery. They are a source and celebration of community and survival.

The Orange County (Fla.) Library System and Los Angeles Public Library both offer events and activities to celebrate Juneteenth. Visit their websites to find out more.

OCPL’s Discover & Go program offers a couple event opportunities. Discover & Go offers  reservations to free or low-cost passes to participating organizations. Conditions apply, check the website for more information.

Through Discover & Go, the Aquarium of the Pacific is hosting Juneteenth Celebration; “Learn about the history of this holiday and its significance to the African American community and beyond. Discover the traditions of this annual celebration through ​music with Erisa Nicole, spoken word with Melvin Boyce II, and an interview with Baba the Storyteller. The Juneteenth Celebration will also be broadcast live on our YouTube page.” says the website.

Also from the Discover & Go program, the Heritage Museum of Orange County offers a Summer of Civil Rights Exhibition, including Sunday, June 18. “Showcasing the extensive collection of Harriet Tyler, the unofficial Black historian of Orange County who spent over 50 years documenting the experiences of the African American community in the area.” Visit the website for more information.

The California African American Museum in Los Angeles is closed for facilities upgrades until August 5 except for special programming; there are two such events on Sunday, June 18 for Juneteenth! The Juneteenth Wellness Day offers yoga and a sound bath to help relax, center, and heal you.


One way to lift up diverse communities is to “support with your wallet.” 

In Watermelon & red birds by Nicole A. Taylor, the author provides a resource to guide readers to BIPOC-owned hot sauces, jams, spice, and waffle mixes companies and lists fun gadgets to make your Juneteenth special. Your favorite search engine can help you find other Black-owned businesses to support.

The NMAAHC has an online shop with a Juneteenth Commemorative Collection. “This limited-edition collection foregrounds Black-led designs as part of the Museum's larger Juneteenth celebration of resilience, including a curated summer reading list and virtual programming. Help represent this holiday with products that honor Juneteenth as celebrated.” According to the website. Sales from Smithsonian gift shops go to support the Smithsonian Institution’s museums. That includes the Sweet Home Café Cookbook.

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