Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) is when enslaved African Americans of Galveston, Texas learned they were free. The news erupted into a history-making celebration known as “Juneteenth.” The formerly enslaved African Americans rejoiced and declared that day “Freedom Day,” “Emancipation Day,” or Juneteenth (“June” plus “nineteenth”).
It had been nearly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that enslaved Texans learned that they were in fact free. That hopeful day in June marked the end of slavery and the beginning of freedom.
Juneteenth celebrates and commemorates Black culture and reinforces Black history as American history. Juneteenth creates space for education, advocacy, and healing. Celebrating Juneteenth provides a unifying platform for all Americans to celebrate our common bond of freedom.
In 2008, along with a group of community residents, Mayor Rory Hoskins founded the Annual Forest Park Juneteenth Pool Party. Since then, the annual event has energized other surrounding communities to host their own celebrations in honor of Juneteenth’s historical significance.
Learn More About Juneteenth
What is Juneteenth?
The official site of the Forest Park Juneteenth committee.
Reimaging Freedom in America: a candid conversation about Juneteenth
A recording of a program held in 2021 for Black History Month discussing the importance of celebrating Juneteenth.
So You Want to Learn about Juneteenth? by Derrick Bryson Taylor
This June 15, 2020 New York Times article outlines what Juneteenth is, its history, how it is celebrated, as well as its importance in 2020.
History of Juneteenth
The Juneteen.com is a comprehensive site with historical information as well as a collection of Juneteenth events.
Why Celebrating Juneteenth is More Important Now than Ever by P.R. Lockhart
This 2018 VOX article includes a discussion with Karlos Hill, professor of African American studiesn at the University of Oklahmom and the author of Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory on why Juneteenth is an important holiday.
What is Juneteenth, How Is It Celebrated, and Why Does it Matter? by Jameelah Nasheed
This 2019 Teen Vogue article outlines the history of Juneteenth, how it is celebrated, and why.
Books & Movies
Ribbons in the Sky
In celebration of Juneteenth, we invite you to participate in “Ribbons in the Sky,” an interactive public art project from June 12-20. Read the accountability pledge below from Forest Park Against Racism, take a ribbon, and sign your name. Then, tie your ribbon to the bridge as a sign of your commitment to anti-racism. Check out the Library’s Anti-Racism Resource Guide for more information. You can find the installation on the fence lining the Park District’s Roos Building (Circle & Harrison).
I understand that systems and power structures in our society are designed to favor those with more privilege over those with none.
Therefore, I pledge to work towards eliminating the injustices, inequities, and misconceptions that come from the systemic racism rooted in our society.
I personally will work towards positive and transformational change through the following:
- Education: learning about racism in our nation’s history, how it is ingrained in our institutions and society at large, and how it has led to injustice.
- Active listening: spending time with, connecting, and listening to directly impacted people from communities who have been marginalized and criminalized by systemic racism.
- Stepping up and speaking out when encountering racist remarks.
- Acknowledging that I have privilege and power that can be used towards building a more just and equitable community where we can all hold each other accountable.
In signing this pledge, I commit through my intentional actions to work towards dismantling systemic racism in my community, in justice for all.
Entiendo que los sistemas y estructuras de poder en nuestra sociedad están diseñados para favorecer a quienes tienen más privilegios que a quienes no los tienen.
Por lo tanto, me comprometo a trabajar para eliminar las injusticias, las desigualdades y los conceptos erróneos que provienen del racismo sistémico arraigado en nuestra sociedad.
Personalmente trabajaré hacia un cambio positivo y transformador a través de lo siguiente:
- Educación: hacer todo lo posible para aprender sobre el racismo en la historia de nuestra nación, cómo está arraigado en nuestras instituciones y la sociedad en general, y cómo este mismo conduce hacia la injusticia.
- Escuchar activamente: escuchar a las personas directamente afectadas de las comunidades que han sido marginadas y criminalizadas por el racismo sistémico.
- Dar un paso al frente y hablar firmemente cuando escuche comentarios racistas por parte de otros.
- Reconociendo que tengo privilegios y poder que pueden usarse para construir una comunidad más justa y equitativa donde todos podemos responsabilizarnos mutuamente.
Al firmar este compromiso, me comprometo a través de mis acciones e intenciones al trabajo para desmantelar el racismo sistémico en mi comunidad, con un enfoque de justicia para todos.
Forest Park Juneteenth Events
Juneteenth Flag Raising
See replay video here
Monday, June 7 at 11:30 am
Forest Park Village Hall
Juneteenth Pool Party
Saturday, June 19 at 7 pm
Forest Park Aquatic Center