By Nyame-kye Kondo, Special to the AFRO

In age of wokeness, annual celebrations of Juneteenth is reawakening as the fourth of July festive occasion for Black people on a national scale. Originating in Texas, the Juneteenth celebration is meant to commemorate the day the final enslaved Africans were freed from slavery in the South, nearly two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Taking place on June 19th, Juneteenth is more than just an anniversary for Black Texans, but a marker for the official end of chattel slavery in America as a whole. Dubbed “Black Independence Day,” by those who are aware of its significance, the reality is that July 4 did not include African Americans because they were still enslaved.

Such as the event in Brentwood, MD, the D.M.V. is celebrating Juneeteenth all month long in commemoration of the last enslaved Africans becoming freed two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. (Courtesy Photo)

The great abolitionist and Maryland native, Frederick Douglass said, “What to America is the fourth of July?”  

The response to Douglass’ question, can be found on the official Juneteenth website, “As the ‘4th of July’ ,1776, American Independence Day, comes around again, let us not forget that the ancestors of Americans of African descent were trapped in the tyranny of slavery.

Juneteenth , the 19th of June, 1865, African-American Independence Day, America’s 2nd Independence Day, recognizing the end of enslavement, did not occur until over 88 years after the first ‘4th of July.”

A representation of national freedom, the celebration of Juneteenth is not just a celebration for Africans Americans, but for all.  Started in the South, as a result of the Great Migration, and other movements that Black people made, the importance of Juneteenth has never been lost, and if anything is quickly becoming a unifier for Black people globally.

Never one to miss out on celebrations of Blackness, the D.M.V area has a slew of events and activities happening this entire month. Recognizing that such an event is bigger than one day, the D.C. region has events happening throughout the remainder of June. Ranging from concerts, to rallies focusing on the Liberation of Black people, the Juneteenth celebratory content varies, but one thing is for sure, equality of Black people will forever be at the forefront.

One of the activists participating in Juneteenth festivities, Whitney Parnell, who is doing the Juneteenth Pop-Up for Liberation and Solidarity in Dunn Loring station on the actual day of the celebration in Merrifield, VA, told the AFRO why June 19 is so important to her.

“I celebrate Juneteenth because of the important milestone that it marks for my ancestors, and my own freedom today. At the same time, White supremacy still holds some deep roots, and we still have a lot of work to do,” she said. “We must confront the truths of both our past and our present in order to actively build liberation for all of society. None of us are free until all of us are.”

Events commemorating the holiday can be found below. Happy Juneteenth family!

Wednesday, June 19:

Juneteenth in DC Community LEarning Event 2019

New York Ave Presbytirian Church (Peter Marshall Hall)

1313 New York Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005

6 p.m. -8 p.m.


Friday, June 21:

Juneteenth Liberation Fundraiser

Smith Public Trust

3514 12th St N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017

6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Juneteenth: More Than A Month Festival! in Brentwood

Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center

4519 Rhode Island Brentwood, MD 20722

6 p.m.


Saturday, June 22:

Juneteenth Community Celebration and Resource Fair

Marvin Gaye Park

411 Division Ave N.E. #499, Washington, D.C. 20019

11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Juneteenth: More Than A Month Festival! in Brentwood

Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center

4519 Rhode Island Brentwood, MD 20722


Juneteenth: Celebration and Crab Feast

Martin’s Caterers

7400 Greenway Center Dr, Greenbelt, MD