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How to celebrate Juneteenth in 2022 — and why it remains so important

June 16, 2022
7 min read
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.


Last year, Juneteenth, which is officially celebrated on June 19, was finally made a federal holiday.

The now nationwide celebration marks the day in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, heralding the end to both the Civil War and to slavery.

While the institution of slavery had been banned in 1863 by the Emancipation Proclamation, many slave owners ignored the executive order and continued to hold people captive. It took nearly two and half years before Granger's announcement made its way to Texas. Ever since, many African Americans, particularly in the South, have celebrated June 19 as the true end of slavery in the United States.

This year, many cities throughout the country have planned events to celebrate the holiday.

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(Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)
The 2020 Black History Month panel at The Points Guy with our very own Benét Wilson and former TPG reporter Victoria Walker. (Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

What Juneteenth means in the travel industry

TPG editor Benét Wilson spoke of the holiday’s importance to her family and community: "My father’s parents were both from San Antonio, Texas, which is where Juneteenth originated. I grew up pre-internet, so my parents were really great about teaching us about Black history and traditions. Growing up, we celebrated Juneteenth as a picnic. We’d discuss the meaning, but it was really more about being with family. I didn’t realize until high school (when we moved to Washington, D.C.) that people didn’t know that it was a significant day in the Black experience.”

Dayvee Sutton, a national travel and lifestyle correspondent, echoed her comments. "Juneteenth is an American independence day​, celebrated primarily by ​​the ​descendants of people who were enslaved in this country, or what we like to say, 'African-Americans,'" Sutton told TPG.

"But it should be a day celebrated by all Americans because it is American history. And all Americans should be happy that the enslaved are free, right? … It is important to not only know the truths of the past but to confront them, as well, if we are genuinely in a space where we can move forward together."

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Where you can celebrate Juneteenth in 2022

Around the country, Juneteenth is typically marked by parades, picnics and other outdoor celebrations.

Galveston, Texas

Juneteenth has been celebrated in the Galveston area since 1979. Locals and visitors can stop at the official Juneteenth marker, located at the Strand near 22nd Street beneath the oak trees, and attend the Annual Juneteenth Proclamation Reading. There’s a parade and a picnic at Wright Cuney Park, as well as a musical celebration, the Emancipation Celebration at the Grand 1894 Opera House. Make sure to also check out the Juneteenth Legacy Project's "Absolute Equality" public art installation at the Old Galveston Square Building.

Juneteenth Celebration parade in Denver. (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post/Getty Images)
Juneteenth Celebration parade in Denver. (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

Denver

Denver, Colorado, declared Juneteenth an official commemorative holiday in 2021, before the national holiday was declared. That year, they also launched the annual Juneteenth Music Festival and parade in the historic Five Points neighborhood which will return this year with one of the nation’s largest celebrations. The city will also host a parade, street festival and the return of Denver Black Pride, an event celebrating the city’s black LGBTQIA+ community. The location of the Juneteenth celebration is significant, as Five Points has been a historically black neighborhood since the 1920s.

Washington, DC

Both downtown Washington, D.C. and nearby Alexandria, Virginia, have an array of Juneteenth events planned this year.

In D.C., several museums, such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian, are having special exhibitions that highlight different aspects of the African American experience. Theaters and galleries across the city, such as Arena Stage and Artechouse, are doing the same. The Something in the Water Festival, hosted by Pharrell Williams and featuring music by Jon Batiste, Lil' Baby, Ashanti, Ja Rule and others, will also take place that weekend.

Across the river in Alexandria, several historical tours and lectures are taking place including those held by the Manumission Tour Company in Old Town, the Lee-Fendall House and Museum, and the newly reopened Freedom House, a museum dedicated to honoring the lives of both enslaved and free Black people who lived and were forced to work this Virginia city.

New York City

Several New York City boroughs are holding Juneteenth events this year. In Brooklyn, there’s a three-day-long celebration planned that includes panel discussions, a community day in Linden and a fashion show and performance in Prospect Park. In Queens, the Juneteenth Festival takes place in Roy Wilkins Park and features a Black beauty bazaar, Black Fashion Row and a variety of other vendors and workshops. Carnegie Hall in Manhattan is planning a night of performances, hosted by actor David Alan Grier, and other institutions like the Museum of the City of New York will have special programming to mark the holiday.

Juneteeth in 2020 included a protest in Foley Square in NYC. This year events will be held around the city to commemorate the holiday. (Photo by Pablo Monsalve/VIEWpress/Getty Images)

Atlanta

In Atlanta, you can attend the Juneteenth Atlanta Parade and Music Festival happening all weekend at Centennial Olympic Park. This will be the 10-year anniversary of the city's celebration, which is a popular spot for family reunions. The Atlanta History Center is also throwing its annual Jubilee on the Lawn, offering music, games and refreshments to visitors alongside special programming that highlights the city’s Black history.

Bottom line

For African Americans, Juneteenth has always been a time for meaningful reflection, unplugging and reconnecting with family and loved ones. Now, this federal holiday is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate and commemorate an important step toward freedom and equality in American history.

Victoria Walker, a former reporter at TPG, said, "As a general rule, I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July, but I do celebrate and honor Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of chattel slavery in the United States.”

Here at TPG, we encourage you to also take time to reflect and unplug if you can. No matter where or how you're celebrating, it's an important day to take a step back and acknowledge where we've come from — and, more importantly, where we are going.

Additional reporting by Samantha Rosen and Lynn Brown.

Featured image by (Photo by Tippman98x/Shutterstock)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023