WILLIAMSBURG — The Greater Williamsburg Juneteenth Community Consortium and other community members have coordinated events for June 17-21 to recognize and celebrate the national holiday across Williamsburg, James City County, and York County.
Last year on June 17, President Joe Biden signed legislation declaring Juneteenth as the newest federal holiday. The federal holiday commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. More specifically, it references June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, to inform the enslaved people of Texas that they had been pronounced freed nearly two years prior by the Emancipation Proclamation.
In the past, Juneteenth was recognized by organizations in Greater Williamsburg. However, now that the holiday is recognized on the National level, The Williamsburg Juneteenth Community Consortium has been meeting regularly since Jan. 2022 to coordinate many commemorative community events for this year.
“I am extremely proud of the way that our community has come together to form this group,” said President of the Let Freedom Ring Foundation and member of First Baptist Church, Connie Matthews Harshaw, in a Colonial Williamsburg release. “At this time in our history, there is no better way to be an example of the change that we want to see than by our coming together to understand the meaning and to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.”
The events that are scheduled include:
- June 17: William & Mary Juneteenth Commemoration
- June 17: Juneteenth Commemorative Art Exhibition
- June 18: YJCW NAACP Motor Parade & Juneteenth Community Fest on Bicentennial Park
- June 18: Juneteenth at Jamestown Settlement
- June 18: York County Juneteenth Celebration
- June 19: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation – Free Admission Sunday, June 19
- June 19: Juneteenth Community Consortium Inter-Faith Experience
- June 19: First Baptist Church Archaeological Site
- June 19: Bray School Archaeological Project
- June 19: Custis Square Archaeological Project
- June 19: Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
- June 19: Freedom’s Paradox Tour
- June 19: Loquacious Lucy, Queen for a Day
- June 19: Charlton Stage Programs
- June 19: A Taste of Freedom
- June 19: The Village Initiative in Education Equity and Williamsburg Action Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, Honoring the Ancestors
- June 19: Film Screening – History Half Told is UnTold
- June 21: Coming to the Table – Juneteenth After Party
The Greater Williamsburg Juneteenth Community Consortium is an association comprising 12 local organizations from the Greater Williamsburg area.
- City of Williamsburg
- Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
- Coming To The Table
- Historic Area Religious Together
- League of Women Voters of Williamsburg Area
- Let Freedom Ring Foundation
- Village The Initiative For Equity in Education
- Virginia Arts Festival – Williamsburg Live
- Visit Williamsburg
- William & Mary
- Williamsburg Action
- York James City Williamsburg (YJCW) NAACP
The community consortium is an open group and there is no membership cost. The goal of the organization is to coordinate Juneteenth programming designed to Educate, Commemorate, and Celebrate.
For more information on all the events as well as the Greater Williamsburg Juneteenth Consortium please check out the consortium’s website.