TEXAS – Juneteenth is this Friday but because of the global pandemic and social distancing measures, many of the organizations that normally host local events are going virtual this year.

What You Need To Know

  • Holiday is celebrated on June 19

  • Marks the end of slavery in the U.S.

  • Many events are virtual this year

Juneteenth is an annual holiday observed in many U.S. states celebrating the end of slavery. June 19, 1865, was the day slaves in Texas learned they’d been emancipated. It was more than two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Below is a list of virtual events celebrating the state holiday:

Juneteenth 2020: Growing Your Roots During a Global Pandemic

This event is hosted by Downs-Jones Library at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin. Event organizers say library director and archivist Danielle McGhee will host a presentation with African American Community Archivist and Librarian for Austin Public Library, kYmberly Keeton.  

The two will talk about ancestry and genealogy within the context of the holiday and the discussion is open to anyone interested in participating.

Juneteenth Vesper Service in San Antonio

The First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio is hosting a Juneteenth church service where it will also be re-dedicating a church building previously known as the “Jefferson Building.” As part of the ceremony, church officials will be reading the names of President Thomas Jefferson’s slaves. The service and ceremony will be streamed online.

Austin Juneteenth Weekend Driving Tour

The Neill-Cochran House Museum has turned a bus tour it hosted in February into a self-paced driving tour locals can enjoy throughout the weekend. Participants will be given a guide so they can visit sites like the Pease Plantation or the Haskell House and can learn about how the sites helped shape black history in Austin.

The tour includes videos participants can watch at each site. The grounds of the Neill-Cochran House Museum will be open as well where you can purchase and eat lunch.

San Antonio “Black Girls Do Bike” Juneteenth Bicycle Ride

This event isn’t virtual but is an opportunity to celebrate while social distancing. Event organizers say in the listing that the event is free and open to anyone to participate but they ask riders maintain social distancing and say that masks are optional but recommended.

Juneteenth 2020: Stay Black and Live

This virtual event is a partnership between The VORTEX, the Six Square Austin's Black Cultural District, the Carver Museum, and the Greater East Austin Youth Association.

Organizers say the event will be streamed to multiple platforms and will start with a message from Austin City Council member Natasha Harper-Madison. There will also be performance series by local artists, and prizes from local businesses will be raffled off.

Juneteenth Virtual Art Show

This online event will showcase “up-and-coming” artists from the Austin area in celebration of Juneteenth.

UTSA Juneteenth Online Panel Discussion

The African American Studies and Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice is hosting this virtual event for students. Panelists will be joined by poet Christopher Michael Brown.

Texas Freedom Festival – San Antonio

The annual event is being rescheduled but the new date has yet to be announced. Organizers, though, are asking community members to post to social media using #TEXASFREEDOMFESTIVAL and #JNETEENTHSAT to share how they are honoring the day.