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Local Juneteenth events (2021)

Juneteenth (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth) – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Originating in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States, with varying official recognition. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. [Wikipedia]

Here are some local events to help celebrate and commemorate Juneteenth:

Town Tours Kickoff and Juneteenth Commemoration

Information and registration link. (be sure to check out the other town walks!)

The Chester County Board of Commissioners through the Chester County Planning Commission, the Chester County History Center, the Chester County Historic Preservation Network, and the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau announce the 27th summer of sharing Chester County's heritage during the annual Town Tours and Village Walks. Join us on this journey toward freedom.

Chester County's founding in the Quaker principles of tolerance and necessary civil disobedience, coupled with the boundary dispute with Maryland and the drawing of the fateful Mason and Dixon Line, established our community as a leader in this country's struggle to end the horrors of slavery. This summer, you are invited to learn about the historic sites in our county where this national struggle has a local voice. We will be offering "Live at 5" virtual programs on Thursday evenings this summer, with limited walking tours. Town Tours will kick-off June 17th at the History Center in West Chester.

Virtual Program, In-person Program, and Walking Tours, pre-registration Sponsored by: Chester County Planning Commission, The History Center, and West Chester Historical Commission

"Live at 5" virtual and in-person programs will feature William Kashatus, respected Underground Railroad historian and author of “William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia.”

Signed books will be available at the History Center and walking tours will begin after the program at 6:45 pm. Depart from the Chester County History Center and visit neighborhoods and homes of such famous people as Horace Pippin and Bayard Rustin. Learn about early churches, businesses, architecture, the Underground Railroad, and civil rights. Tours will focus between Matlack and Wayne Streets and Barnard to Chestnut Streets.

Join the Melton Center on Juneteenth (June 19, 2021)

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the 1865 emancipation of the last enslaved people in the United States. Juneteenth celebration commemorates and emphasizes education, freedom, and the overall achievement of African Americans.

The celebration also marks a time for all of America to reflect and acknowledge African Americans’ journey to freedom, positive influences, and a time for Americans to collectively focus on a unified and optimistic future.

Juneteenth Freedom Day – Presented by West Chester Unit NAACP, Chester County History Center and Charles A. Melton Arts & Education Center

9 – 11 am

We invite you to join us for a Juneteenth Celebration starting at 9 am.

Flag Raising Ceremony: A moment of silence in honor of our ancestors and to those who made a difference in our community.

Moment of Silence: The planting of a tree or shrub and placement of a bench in honor of "Freedom Day"

Ceremonial Planting and Bench Dedication: The planting of a tree or shrub and placement of a bench in honor of "Freedom Day"

New Directions Poster and Essay Contest: Students Juneteenth essays and artwork will be on display. Prizes will be awarded.

West Chester Alliance for Social Justice’s Juneteenth Festival (ticketed event)

3-7 pm

Juneteenth, the day traditionally thought of as the end of slavery in the United States, is now an official holiday in Chester County. Our festival is a community celebration and afternoon of unity.

This is a family-focused, fun way to get all ages directly involved in supporting the West Chester community. There will be local speakers, music, performances, items for sale, and food. All vendors are local black owned businesses.

Event proceeds will be donated to The Charles A Melton Center. We are also offering items for raffle to benefit The Bianca Nikol Merge with Mercy Foundation. Tickets are $7. Children under 16 are admitted for free with an accompanying adult.

Celebrate Juneteenth with a FREE walking tour along the abolition trail of West Chester on Saturday, June 5, 2021, from 10-11:30am.

Led by local author Malcolm Johnstone, this walking tour will commemorate the local and national activities which led to Juneteenth. The tour will visit various points-of-interest in West Chester that reflect the culture of abolition. The walking tour will begin at the Chester County History Center (225 North High Street) and conclude with an optional indoor tour of The Lincoln Building (28 West Market Street). Parking is FREE until 5pm at the Chestnut Street Parking Garage, across from the Chester County History Center. Registration link.

What is Juneteenth? (Phoenixville Public Library)

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Members of Phoenixville's Diversity in Action, Black Light Projects, and Orion Communities will present the significance of Juneteenth historically and currently. Join us for a video presentation followed by live conversation about the virtual events celebrating Juneteenth that are happening from June 13-19 here in Phoenixville.

Date: Monday, June 7, 2021

Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm

This event is free and open to the public and will be held online via Zoom.

Registration is required at https://ccls.libcal.com/calendar/Phoenixville/juneteenth or by calling 610-933-3013 x132

The Role of the Artist in the journey Toward Freedom: An Evening with Caroline Randall Williams (ticketed event)

Event and ticket link.

Caroline Randall Williams, acclaimed writer and public intellectual will give a lecture on the role of the artist in the journey towards freedom. We will also have the honor of hearing performances from the winners of the inaugural “I Matter” Poetry competition, as they share their powerful poems and art on why Black Lives Matter.

The I Matter project—a national art and poetry contest was created and launched by 14-year-old, Isabella Hanson, to provide a platform for young people to process the pain experienced by witnessing the violence and injustices that disproportionately impact the Black community.

Location: Cheyney University

Schedule: 5pm-6pm | Reception 6pm-6:45pm | I Matter Poets w/ Isabella Hanson

7pm-8pm | Caroline Randall Williams Lecture & Q &A


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WCPL closed Sat. - Mon., July 2-4, 2022. Regular hours: Mon-Thurs 10am - 7pm; Fri-Sat 10am - 5pm.

Masks optional in the library. The CDC does recommend masks for anyone immunocompromised or at high risk from COVID.