What Is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth or Freedom Day celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. Why is it on June 19th? While the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery on January 1, 1863 it still existed in Texas until June 19, 1865. On that day, Union Army soldiers arrived in Galveston Texas to announce that that Civil War had ended and that slavery was no longer legal in the United States. Last year marked the first year it was celebrated as a federal holiday.  We at United Way encourage you to take time to acknowledge the importance of Freedom Day in the history of the U.S. 


History of Juneteenth



Juneteenth: Origins and Myths — Whetstone Magazine

The Juneteenth story starts in Galveston, Texas. In the early 19th century — the middle period of the Transatlantic slave trade, this coastal Texas town, just 800 miles from Cuba, was an integral global trading hub, and a go-between for colonists, traders and enslaved Africans from Cuba.


Maya Angelou

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou (Read By Jordyn Hornbuckle)

In honor of #WomensHistoryMonth (and a wonderful tribute to kick off Juneteenth) with our focus on social justice this week, please enjoy sophomore Jordyn Hornbuckle’s powerful reading of Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise.

Below are some to current day ideas and celebrations taking place in Tacoma and Pierce County giving you more information on different ways to celebrate Juneteenth!


Events and Happenings on Juneteenth and in the month of June, 2022!


City of Tacoma Acknowledges Juneteenth  as a Holiday!

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 and commemorates the liberation of the last slaves in Texas, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had abolished slavery in the Confederate States in 1863. First recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, many observe the date with local celebrations, including parties, parades, picnics and festivals.

21 day challenge

United Way of Pierce County (UWPC) is opening up the link to our 21-Day Challenge for those of you who would like to review and revisit any of the daily lessons that were shared Black History month. You can refresh these daily reminders by visiting the link below:

Here is the link for the 21-day challenge from our UWPC archives!



Washington State History Museum

Run don’t walk to see this amazing local exhibit at the Washington State History Museum!

The Green Book Exhibit is still showing only through this Sunday, 6/12/22!  Run don’t walk, it does highlight many of the challenges




Take the Journey!

Museum Hours:

Open Tuesday from 10:00am - 5:00pm

Showing now through June 12, 2022.

June 16th 3:00 PM- 8:00 PM – free admission and special exhibition opening plus artist awards


negro motorist book


Tacoma is the latest stop for the "Negro Motorist Green Book" exhibit detailing what travel was really like for African-Americans during Jim Crow. #k5evening


The exhibit is inspired by a national tourist guide that was first published in 1936. It was designed to help African-Americans plot a safe passage through cities across the United States. 

"Traveling while black was a dangerous thing. You didn't know what to expect. You didn't know where to go or how they were going to react when you got there," explained Gwen Whiting, lead curator for the Washington State Historical Society.  

The exhibit tells a more nuanced story than the ones often presented in Hollywood. 

"The Green Book" movie introduced many audiences to the life-saving tour guide, but The Smithsonian's Marquette Folley said it was missing the heart of the true "Green Book" story, which the exhibit seeks to capture.


Tacoma Little Theatre (TLT) is currently running the play, “ The Luck of The Irish: directed by: Lydia K. Valentine, this play closes on Juneteenth, with  audience participation and discussion encouraged! This is a pay what you will cost on this day only, get more details here: https://www.tacomalittletheatre.com/


urban league

Support some of our local black and brown owned businesses in the Pierce County area, just click on the link below:  This list is generously provided by the Tacoma Urban League (TUL) as our source.

Link to TUL list of black owned businesses



McMenamin’s Spanish Ballroom


Mazigazi at Spanish Ballroom (Juneteenth Celebration)

Doors at 4, Show at 5 $7 Adv. or $10 DOS

All ages welcome


About Mazigazi Band

Mazigazi Band

A Juneteenth Day - One Big block Party, One big Community all in the heart of Tacoma downtown. Mazigazi Band is back at the Spanish Ballroom, this time with one purpose, to host a Juneteenth Day Celebration. A day to commemorates the hardships and the freedom of black people in America. Join us for high-energy Afro-Music that rooted in African Rhythms and dance. We will reflect, learn, and grow together as a community through music and dance. We will honor and celebrate black resiliency, freedom, and equality. Come support black creators whose music and art tells the stories of struggles, survival and freedom. Let's make some fun together and bring the house down with Mazigazi's high energy and groovy tunes.


For a detailed list of events happening in Tacoma and Pierce County suggested by the Tacoma Urban League,

visit this link 



Visiting State Parks are Free on June 19th in honor of Juneteenth!


The next state land free days are June 11, June 12 and June 19!

 Published from Parks Washington Government on: May 31, 2022


The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites visitors to enjoy a state park on Saturday, June 11 in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, Sunday, June 12 in recognition of Free Fishing Day and Sunday, June 19 in honor of Juneteenth.

Black Business Market Juneteenth Celebration

All the details are found here

black market




Additional EVENTS throughout WA State!

For an expanded listing of Washington State wide events, visit this site!