Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery. The holiday began in Galveston,Texas in 1865, but this is only the second year that it has been observed as a Federal holiday. There were celebrations and reflections throughout D.C. – here are a few of them:
Chocolate City Festival
Organized by the civil rights group Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, the Chocolate City Festival celebrated Juneteenth with go-go music and dance on Freedom Plaza. It also featured free food and water from Black-owned businesses in the D.C.-region.
Black Lives Matter Plaza
At Black Lives Matters Plaza, there was an all-day “Bl@ck Party” hosted by Dia de los Muertos DC. The event included fire spinners, musicians, and deejays spinning tunes atop a painted wooden “peace tank.”
The National Cathedral partnered with projectionists from Reclaiming the Monument to light the facade in honor of Juneteenth. The projections appear to be stained glass, to represent the Cathedral’s replacement of two of its stained glass windows that featured Confederate Generals Lee and Jackson. Artist Kerry James Marshall has been commissioned to design two new windows representing the struggle for racial equality.
Poor People’s Campaign
The Poor People’s Campaign’s Moral March on Washington took place on Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday — aiming toward a revision of national priorities, especially for the 140 million people who are poor or low-income — through voting rights, civil rights, worker rights, anti-war, and other social initiatives.
This movement is a renewal of the original Poor People’s Campaign of 1968, envisioned by Martin Luther King and carried out by Ralph Abernathy after King’s assassination. The date was tied to the Juneteenth weekend because of the economic oppression that has persisted after the end of slavery.