Juneteenth’s history and meaning explained by African American Civil War Museum director
Frank Smith, director of the African American Civil War Museum, explains the origin of Juneteenth and its journey to becoming a national holiday.
Josh Morgan, USA TODAY
June 19, known as Juneteenth, became a federal holiday only last year. It marks the date the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, became aware of the freeing of the enslaved in secessionist states by the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.
Juneteenth was mainly celebrated in Texas, but has taken on greater national significance following the renewed racial reckonings in the summer of 2020.
Here are programs celebrating the holiday with musical performances, by revisiting history and highlighting Black culture.
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‘Sound of Freedom: A Juneteenth Celebration’
ABC, Friday at 8 EDT/PDT; streaming on Hulu
Country artist Jimmie Allen hosts the hourlong special celebrating Black artists’ contributions to music. The program features performances from Patti LaBelle, Jon Batiste and Marvin Sapp and interviews with Lizzo, Ciara and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
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Amazon Prime Video and Twitch, Friday through Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT
Williams’ three-day Juneteenth music festival in Washington, D.C., follows his efforts to get the holiday recognized nationally and as a paid holiday in his home state of Virginia. This year’s artists include Pharrell & Phriends, 21 Savage, Anderson .Paak, Calvin Harris, Chloe X Halle, Dave Matthews Band, J Balvin, Jon Batiste, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert, Pusha T, Tyler The Creator, Usher and several more.
If you’d like to celebrate with even more tracks, Apple Music curated “Juneteenth 2022: Freedom Songs,” for the holiday with music by Alex Isley, Brittney Spencer, Bun B, Lupe Fiasco and more for streaming on the platform.
Pharrell’s Something in the Water festival lineup amplified by Justin Timberlake, 21 Savage, J Balvin
‘Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom’
CNN, Sunday at 8 EDT/PDT
The concert special will feature several stars, including Yolanda Adams; Billy Porter; Earth, Wind & Fire; Jhené Aiko; Killer Mike; Mary Mary, Michelle Williams; Mickey Guyton; The Roots and more. A pre-show hosted by the network’s Don Lemon begins at 7.
‘The Power of Juneteenth’
BET, Sunday at 12:30 EDT/PDT
The half-hour special spotlights the cuisine, songs, and importance of June 19.
‘The Recipe: Juneteenth’
BET, Sunday at 1 EDT/PDT
Famous faces celebrate the holiday while feasting on BBQ and listening to soulful musical performances.
‘Civil: Ben Crump’
Although the Netflix documentary has no explicit ties to Juneteenth, it’s centered on attorney Ben Crump who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Ahmaud Arbery. “Civil,” directed by Nadia Hallgren (“Becoming“), captures Crump’s pursuit of civil cases for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Andre Hill.
Contributing: Chelsey Cox
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