Juneteenth commemorates the day that the news of freedom finally reached previously enslaved people throughout the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued two and a half years earlier, some enslavers had purposely never told laborers that they were free.

For the next century, celebrations and recognition of Juneteenth ebbed and flowed in Texas and beyond. Some civil rights activists, for instance, wore Juneteenth freedom pins in the 1960s. In 2021, June 19 was designated an annual federal holiday across the U.S. Today Juneteenth celebrates African American freedom and achievement, along with respect for all cultures.

Lighting the Way for Freedom

On Juneteenth 2020, Scenic Hudson lit up the Sojourner Truth Trail at Shaupeneak Ridge in a silent ceremony to honor Truth and the unimaginable hardships endured by enslaved people. Scenic Hudson plans to share the video annually as a Juneteenth tradition.

A SAMPLING OF HUDSON VALLEY JUNETEENTH EVENTS

POUGHKEEPSIE (Dutchess)

Community Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 18; noon–6 p.m.
Mansion Square Park, 165 Mansion St.

Free and open to the public, the event will feature live music, food, and entertainment. Presented by R.E.A.L. Skills Network in memory of its founder, Theodore “Tree” Arrington.

More info: (845) 452-6088, ext. 3169, or email realskillsnetwork@gmail.com.

Imani Perry: Celebrating Juneteenth
Sunday, June 19; 5 p.m.
Bardavon, 35 Market St.

The award-winning scholar will discuss her new book, South to America, in which she seeks to change how people view the American South and, thus, the nation’s history as a whole. A Q&A will follow.

Free general admission tickets (limit of two per person) are available at the Bardavon Box Office or any branch of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District.

Click here for more info.

NEWBURGH (Orange)

“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Why Her Nomination Matters, and the Black Men and Women Who Paved the Path for Her”
Saturday, June 18; 1:30 p.m.
Newburgh Free Library, 124 Grand St.

Vassar College Political Science Professor Taneisha N. Means will discuss the historical significance of Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation and the trailblazing Black judges that came before her, including Jane Bolin of Poughkeepsie, America’s first Black female judge, and Constance Baker Motley, the nation’s first Black female federal judge.

Event is free but registration is required. 

KINGSTON (Ulster)

Harambee Presents Juneteenth 22
Saturday, June 18; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Pine Street African Burial Ground, 157 Pine St.

This annual free celebration of remembrance, community, and love features lots of music, a chance to meet Barbara Allen (Sojourner Truth’s sixth great-granddaughter), and a special exhibit of quilts memorializing George Floyd.

PEEKSKILL (Westchester)

Juneteenth: Access for All Celebration
Friday, June 17; 7:30 p.m.
Paramount Theater, 1008 Brown St.

Presented by Sun River Health, the event will include musical performances by Ray Blue, KJ Denhert, and others, as well as pay tribute to the Founding Mothers who established the organization in response to lack of access to quality health care. 

To reserve free tickets, visit the box office, call (914) 739-0039, ext. 2, or email boxoffice@paramounthudsonvalley.com.

Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 18; noon-5 p.m.
Depew Park, 1 Robin Drive

The city’s Youth Bureau hosts this 11th annual event, which this year celebrates African American firsts. Festivities will include music (gospel, jazz, hip hop, African drumming), art, and dancing, along with spoken word performances and food and craft vendors. 

Click here for more info.

ALBANY (Albany)

Juneteenth 2022 Celebration
Saturday, June 18; noon-5 p.m.
S. Pearl St. from Madison to Morton Avenue Robin Drive

The African American Cultural Association of the Capital Region hosts the area’s largest “freedom festival.” The free event will feature live music, entertainment, food, and art exhibits.

Click here for more info.

HAVERSTRAW (Rockland)

7th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Day
Saturday, June 18; 3 p.m.
Clinton St.

The Haverstraw African American Connection hosts this free street party and commemoration featuring a parade, food, live music, vendors, and a Kid Zone. 

Click here for more info.

NEW PALTZ (Ulster)

Community Juneteenth Celebration Saturday, June 18; 1-6 p.m.

This community-wide event begins at 1 p.m. with a commemoration ceremony at New Paltz Rural Cemetery and continues from 2-6 p.m. along Historic Huguenot Street with speakers, tours, live music, children’s crafts, and a buffet-style lunch. A screening of the film Lincoln will be shown at Elting Memorial Library beginning at 7:30 p.m. 

Click here for more info.

VALHALLA (Westchester)

Annual African-American Heritage Day Celebration
Sunday, June 26; noon-6 p.m. 
Kensico Dam Plaza, 1 Bronx River Parkway Road

The event will feature live entertainment — music, dance, drama, and poetry — as well as ethnic foods and cultural arts and crafts. Free shuttle service will be provided to and from the Valhalla and North White Plains train stations.

Click here for more info.