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Juneteenth observances planned throughout NC
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Juneteenth observances planned throughout NC

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Five bronze statues make up the Juneteenth Memorial Sculpture Monument at Freedom Plaza at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, Texas.

In honor of Juneteenth, several N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources sites across the state will feature events and tours this month.

Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, marks the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and ensure that all slaves were now free. It celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States.

These are a few of the events that will be available for people to attend to observe Juneteenth.

Lake James State Park

Noon Friday, June 11, to 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 21

Juneteenth StoryWalk

The event is free.

Start Location: Sandy Cliff Overlook Trail at Catawba River Area

Hike Length and Difficulty: 0.5 miles, Easy

A StoryWalk is a children’s book and a walking trail combined. Come walk the short ½-mile Sandy Cliff Overlook Trail and read a story about Juneteenth, the American holiday that celebrates freedom from slavery.

Tryon Palace

7-8 p.m. June 17

North Carolina’s Liberation Story (online event)

The event is free; registration is required.

Join Angela Thorpe of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission to explore how enslaved people experienced liberation, and how Black people liberated themselves and others from 1863-1865 in North Carolina. Participants also will learn about the various sites, landscapes, and people that are connected to these liberation stories. This lecture will occur via Zoom.

Vance Birthplace State Historic Site

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June 2021

Juneteenth in the Reems Creek Valley Audio Tour

The event is free.

This self-guided audio tour explores the lives of the people enslaved by the Vances from 1795-1865. Of the 27-plus people enslaved at this site, at least eight saw freedom in 1865: Leah and Sandy Erwin, Richard Vance II, Hudson Vance, Abram Vance, Peter, James Vance, and Simon Vance.

This program was produced by the Mountain History & Culture Group with the support of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission. A corresponding outdoor installation at Vance Birthplace names each person.

North Carolina Museum of History

7 p.m. June 16

Juneteenth: A Story of Freedom (online event)

The event is free; registration is required.

Join Earl Ijames and Chrystal Regan in an insightful conversation to examine the history behind this holiday and reveal why its celebration is more important now than ever. They also will explore North Carolina’s special connections to the historic event and share details about Raleigh’s inaugural Juneteenth Celebration.

1-4 p.m. June 18, with a special reading and book signing at 3 p.m.

Meet members of the Battery B, Second Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops Light Artillery Civil War reenactors, as they reveal the legacy of these courageous soldiers. Visit museum exhibits, and enjoy an author reading and book signing by the 2021 Piedmont laureate, Kelly Starling Lyons. The renowned children’s author will read her poignant story “Hope’s Gift,” which commemorates the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation as seen by one little girl who dreams of freedom for herself and her people. A free activity guide based on the book is available for families.

N.C. State Capitol

9 a.m.-noon June 19

Commemorate Juneteenth at the state Capitol

The event is free.

Visitors are invited to visit the Capitol grounds, where chalk artist Kiara Sanders creates line drawings on the sidewalks of the Juneteenth flag and portraits of freedmen and freedwomen whose lives intersected with the historic site. The public is encouraged to help color in the portraits and to write the names of other ancestors who lived in bondage to create a colorful visual celebration of the legacy of emancipation and Juneteenth. Historic interpreters from the Capitol will be present to share context and history about the holiday and the early history of Raleigh. This morning of art and reflection will precede the inaugural Capital City Juneteenth Celebration at Dix Park.

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