Juneteenth

Since 2013, Atlanta History Center has hosted an annual Juneteenth commemoration that connects visitors to this essential moment in national history.

Juneteenth is a celebration marking the end of enslavement in the United States.

Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, very few people were immediately freed. A full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two long months after Richmond fell, the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were pronounced free people. That momentous date, June 19, 1865, has been proclaimed Juneteenth and celebrated annually ever since.

Atlanta History Center is thrilled to bring back our in-person Juneteenth celebration after two years of virtual events due to the pandemic. This year’s dynamic program will feature a series of curated experiences leading visitors across campus to explore the history of Juneteenth itself and Black innovation, life, and excellence since emancipation in Atlanta. We’ll be highlighting Black history and future in Atlanta, including politics and business in the decades since the Civil War, foodways, music, art, and more!

All of this learning will culminate in celebration, with a party on the Swan House lawn complete with music, games, food, and drinks beginning at noon.

The Coachella of Democracy

Juneteenth to July 4th—two big holidays, one inspiring season. Join us at the Kickoff Party taking place at Atlanta History Center Midtown on June 12th. Enjoy live music, food trucks, giveaways, poster-making, chocolate sampling, and signature history-themed cocktails.

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Explore Black Atlanta

Browse a sample of photographs reflecting the rich stories of Atlanta’s historically Black colleges and universities, the Civil Rights Movement, and those of African American educators, entertainers, and athletes.

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Related. Stories.

United States Colored Troops

Atlanta History Center is home to one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of Civil War memorabilia including a growing number of rare USCT objects. Explore highlights of the collection through a series of videos.

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David Drake Pottery

David Drake was an enslaved potter in South Carolina. His jars are unique not only for their craftsmanship, but because Drake often etched lines of poetry into the clay while it was still wet.

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Black Citizenship

We invite you to meet Black Atlantans who made history as educators, artists, legislators, soldiers, and more. This virtual tour offers the full content of the exhibition at Atlanta History Center, and was created by New-York Historical Society.

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Past Events & Resources

Experience Sweet Auburn

Celebrate Juneteenth and African American resilience and ingenuity by taking a walking tour of “Sweet Auburn,” a neighborhood that John Wesley Dobbs once called the “richest Negro street in the world.” While at the time, Dobbs was referring to the financial influence of the area, today, as a birthplace of the modern Civil Rights movement, the area is replete with historical significance.  This tour was co-curated by Historic Atlanta and Atlanta History Center in 2021.

Family. Focused.

Juneteenth offers families an opportunity to talk about freedom and the experiences of African-Americans in the United States—and reading is a great way to explore these topics.

Educational. Activities.

Super Spies uses hand-drawn illustrations, historical photographs, and fantastic storytelling to explore the untold history of Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Van Lew, and Mary Bowser during the American Civil War.

Enslaved people in the United States resisted the institution of slavery and asserted their humanity and their personhood in many different ways. From running away, organizing uprisings and directly fighting back, as well as clinging to and sharing African traditions which were at constant risk of erasure. One of the many forms of resistance was joining the United States' cause during the Civil War and serving the cause as spies, nurses, and soldiers. 

We are excited to bring to you three such stories of Black self-liberation during the American Civil War. History comes to life in these unique lessons created by our Education team in 2020. From brave covert women spies embedded in the Confederacy to the courageous men who fought in the United States Colored Troops—there is sure to be something for everyone in the family to explore.

Lift Every Voice. Playlist.

Clap your hands, stomp your feet, and lift your voice in celebration of triumph, emancipation, and history with these inspirational tunes.

Genealogy. Presentation.

Emma Davis-Hamilton discusses the Freedmen's Bureau in this pre-recorded genealogy presentation. The records of the Freedmen’s Bureau are a rich resource for documenting African American life in the post-Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

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