What is Juneteenth and why is important?
Juneteenth marks the day the last group of enslaved people were told that they were free.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring freedom for "all persons held as slaves."
According to the National Archives, the proclamation didn't explicitly end slavery in the the nation. In fact, it only applied to states that seceded from the U.S. and hadn't already been under Northern control.
News of the proclamation didn't get to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865. According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, Union General Gordon Granger was the one that told them about their freedom.
African-Americans have celebrated Juneteenth for ages, but it wasn't considered an official U.S. holiday until 2021.
Here's a list of ways you can honor June 19th across North Texas:
Saturday, June 18th
Ms. Opal Lee's annual Walk for Juneteenth
There's no better way to honor Juneteenth than with the woman known for leading the way to make it a national holiday.
Ms. Opal Lee (AKA "The Grandmother of Juneteenth") will continue to lead with her annual walk. The 95-year-old will embark on a 2.5 mile walk in honor of the 2.5 years it took for news of the emancipation to reach Texas in the mid-1860s.
The event will start with breakfast, performances and remarks from Ms. Opal Lee and Mayor Mattie Parker. With a $20 tasting ticket, food will be available from many local vendors. That'll be from 8-9 a.m. at the Historic Evans Avenue Plaza
The Walk for Juneteenth will be from 10 a.m. - noon, starting at the Fort Worth Public Library. Click here to see the full route.
"Grandmother of Juneteenth: A conversation with Opal Lee"
If you can't make the Walk to Juneteenth in person, WFAA has the next best thing. We will be premiering an hour-long documentary honoring Ms. Opal Lee and her efforts to have Juneteenth recognized on a national level.
The Grandmother of Juneteenth and her family have been speaking with Tashara Parker, Scoop Jefferson and more about what it took to get to this point and what they plan to do next.
The documentary will air on WFAA at 9 a.m. Saturday. You can then head to wfaa.com to watch live coverage of the Walk for Freedom with Tashara Parker and Joe Trahan starting at 10 a.m.
Juneteenth Commemoration at Galleria Dallas
Galleria Dallas is celebrating the history of Juneteenth by introducing the city to a local Black artist.
Niki Dionne will present her art installation on Level of the shopping center across from the Gucci store. Her "Women Walking" piece explores how the "perceived self" of Black women affects their "presenting self."
It'll be on display until June 30.
On June 18th, Galleria Dallas will provide 250 free t-shirt designed by Dionne. The exclusive design will be available to shoppers at Guest Services (level 1, center court) while supplies last. If you're there between 10-11 a.m., you'll be able to meet Niki Dionne herself.
Juneteenth Celebration at Fair Park
Come out to the 2nd annual North Texas Juneteenth Celebration, March, and Festival from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
The event will start at William Blair Jr. Park with a 3.5 mile walk to the festival in Fair Park. From that point, you can check out local Black-owned vendors, health and beauty expos, live entertainment, panel discussions and more.
All programs will be free and open to the public.
Afro Soca Love: Black-Owned Marketplace + Afterparty
At the marketplace, you can bring your whole family to enjoy food from African-American, Caribbean, African and Afro-Latin vendors. Locally and globally-renowned Black-owned businesses will be all over the area with merchandise.
Shop while you drop down to live music and be on the lookout for more entertainment and giveaways. Also, be sure to come dressed to impress and capture at the photo booth!
The marketplace will run from 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Kids 16 and younger get in for free. Tickets for everyone else will be $13.22 ($10 ticket + $3.22 fee).
The Afro Soca afterparty is only for people 21 & up and those tickets will be about $37 total. From 9 p.m. Sat - 2 a.m. Sun, dance the night away to a variety of music (Soca, Afrobeat, Hip-Hip, Reggae, etc.).
There won't be any vendors, but there will be live performances and DJs from around the globe.
Texas Black Invitational Rodeo
Guests will get a glimpse of the historical impact made by African-Americans on the settling of the western U.S.
The event will kick off with a Grand Entry Parade, then about 300 African-American cowboys and cowgirls will compete for cash prizes. The competitions will feature bronc and bull riding, barrel racing, a Pony Express relay race and more.
Tickets are on sale now starting at $10. All guests 2 and older will need a ticket.
Juneteenth (Sunday, June 19)
Celebration at The Plant Project
You're invited to learn and celebrate the history of Juneteenth at The Plant Project, a Black woman-owned plant shop in Dallas. Their free, family-friendly event will be from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The celebration will focus on sharing the history of Uptown in the African-American community. They're also aiming for a greener tomorrow with tips for plants and self-care, 20% off plants and complimentary Botanical Beverages.
Juneteenth Fashion Show
Fashion designer Venny Etienne (Project Runway Season 17) will emcee for the night as the stage shines with products and talent from Black designers, creatives, entertainers and more. The looks you see on the runway will be available to shop for right after the show.
Be sure to stick around for the afterparty at 7 p.m. and enjoy a live performance by Tony Williams.
Location: Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Avenue, Plano