Juneteenth 2024: Celebrating Freedom

Juneteenth 2024: Celebrating Freedom

On this federal holiday, we join together in commemorating freedom from slavery.

By: Christen Bourgeois Date: June 10th, 2024

Image conveys "Celebrating Freedom" theme. Side profile of blank silhouette peers out from three bands of color stacked in order of red, black & green. The Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington logo reversed in white (at center) and "2024" with QR Code in black (at bottom left).

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth (June 19th) marks the day in 1865 when a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that they were free from the institution of slavery. This was almost two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation

As much as Juneteenth represents freedom, it also represents how emancipation was tragically delayed for enslaved people.

Today, we recognize Juneteenth as a transformational event in American history, a period when our nation moved closer toward the abstract notion of equality. That movement is worthy of celebration — for sake of the human lives it touched, and the promise it holds for the future.

Why is this day important?

Originally observed by only three U.S. states as a federal holiday (Texas, Louisiana and California), Juneteenth is now recognized by more than half of U.S. states as a second Independence Day and Emancipation Day!

Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day) serves to remind our nation that there is still much more work to be done in addressing the many systemic barriers that remain for our nation’s Black communities. Oppression is not safely in the past—it persists in the systems and structures that form our society and in the actions of people who are determined to preserve those systems. 


Juneteenth DOES NOT mark the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation (which technically freed slaves in the rebelling Confederate states) — nor does it commemorate the December 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment (which enshrined the end of slavery into the Constitution).

The Flag

The Juneteenth flag symbolizes history and freedom. In 1997, activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF) created the flag with the help of several collaborators and Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf. A bursting “new star” on the horizon—which represents A NEW FREEDOM, A NEW PEOPLE—and its red, white, and blue colors communicate that the American Slaves and their descendants were ALL AMERICANS.

Celebrate Outdoors

FREE Discover Pass Day: Juneteenth (June 19th) is one of the 12 days each year when a Discover Pass is not required to park on any land managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington State Parks, or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Seattle Parks and Recreation: Reminder that the following facilities and services will be OPEN/CLOSED to the public on Wednesday, June 19, 2024:


  • Parks
  • Seattle Japanese Garden and Volunteer Park Conservatory
  • Pre-Season Beaches (Madrona Beach and West Green Lake Beach)
  • Boat ramps
  • Sprayparks
  • Interbay, Jackson Park, Jefferson Park and West Seattle golf courses

*Please check schedules for updated hours and information.


  • All recreation programs
  • Community centers and teen centers
  • Environmental learning centers
  • Indoor swimming pools
  • Outdoor swimming pools (closed regularly on weekdays until daily operations begin Saturday, June 22)
  • Green Lake Small Craft Center
  • Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center
  • Amy Yee Tennis Center

*Please check schedules for updated hours and information.

Support Community

Black Hair Care Donation Drive hosted by The Sophia Way

Learn & Reflect

The Past, Present & Future of Juneteenth

At the University of Washington, observing June 19th as a holiday provides our students and families, faculty, staff, trainees, visitors and others the opportunity to reflect and put advocacy into action! Juneteenth has become the most prominent Emancipation Day holiday in the history of the U.S. It is a chance to celebrate progress and continue the movement toward equality.


Juneteenth Crossword Puzzle


National Archives

Articles & Stories


For Mature Readers:

For Beginner-level (or) Young Readers:

For Middle School Readers:




Source: UW Combined Fund Drive, UW Human ResourcesPEW Research Center, Seattle Parks and Recreation