Juneteenth

Register now for the Juneteenth celebration at Atlanta History Center on June 15, 2024

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

Join us on June 15 as we celebrate Black culinary history and America's pastime, baseball. Through on-campus events, cooking demonstrations, museum theater, and exhibitions, including More Than Brave: The Life of Henry Aaron and Barbecue Nation, we highlight Juneteenth's legacy and underscore the joyous union of food, family, and community. 


On June 19, 1865, a group of Union troops stopped in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved people that the Civil War was over, the Confederacy was defeated, and enslaved people in Texas were free. Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, many slaveholders refused to comply. A full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after Union troops seized Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States of America, the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were declared free people. That momentous date in 1865 was proclaimed Juneteenth and has been celebrated annually since then.

Today, Juneteenth serves as a holiday to reflect on our nation’s history, commemorate emancipation, and look towards the future impact of Black culture and community. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Fruits of Our Labor with Nicole Taylor

Join us for an interactive tasting inspired by “Watermelon & Red Birds Cookbook: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebration” by James Beard Award nominee Nicole A. Taylor.

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Juneteenth Bird Walk

For Juneteenth, our partners at Birds Georgia is leading a bird walk through the Atlanta History Center's 33-acre birding hotspot. Join members of Birds Georgia for a special walk through Goizueta Gardens.

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Plan Your Day

ActivityDescriptionTimeLocation
Timed Activities

Note: Refer to Upper and Lower Swan Lawn for additional
timed activities
Freedom Flavors: Aleck’s Legacy Museum TheaterSet against the backdrop of the iconic Aleck’s Barbecue Heaven in Atlanta, Freedom Flavors: Aleck’s Legacy is a museum-theater experience that transports audiences to a time when barbecue served as a beacon of freedom and community.10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2pmGatheround Exhibit
Folktales and Interactive Storytelling with Mama KokuAll ages are encouraged to indulge their imaginations and nurture their spirits as Mama Koku brings to life African and African American folktales through captivating performances.11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pmMuseum Terraces
Gardens TourJoin Atlanta History Center’s Urban Agriculturalist for a tour of the Enslaved People’s Garden. Learn about garden design, the history of the crops that made up the foodways of enslaved communities, and how these gardens were used as a form of resistance.11am, 12pm, 1pmSmith Farm
Fruits of Our Labor
Register Here

Note: This is an outdoor experience and pre-paid, ticketed event
James Beard Award-nominated food writer, home chef, and producer, Nicole Taylor, will provide a pre-paid interactive tasting inspired by her cookbook, Watermelon & Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebration, through meals and drinks that carry the patina of endurance.11am–12pm & 1–2pmSwan House Boxwood Gardens
Archives Open HouseBe inspired by America's favorite pastime, African American food culture and gardening traditions, and the Veterans History Project through guided explorations led by Kenan Research Center. Hear veteran voices, see rare photographs of Negro League baseball in Atlanta, browse historic and new cookbooks, and an array of gardening volumes, from foraging and flowers to landscape design and vegetables to highlight Georgia’s historical legacies.11am, 12pm, 1pmKenan Research Center (McElreath Hall)
Medicine in the GardenJoin Atlanta History Center’s Certified Herbalist and Senior Horticulturist to learn about the rich cultural history of African American herbal medicine, modern uses of cultivated and foraged herbs, and watch demonstrations of herbal tea preparations including peppermint, lemon balm, and others.1pm, 2pm, 3pmWood Cabin
Ongoing Activities

Note: Refer to Upper and Lower Swan Lawn for additional
ongoing activities
Juneteenth Introduction Video Ground yourself in the day’s celebrations as you discover the journey of the Black diaspora through the lens of food and family.10am–2pmKennedy Theater
Civic Season BoothDiscover the activist in you by participating in our Civic Season, celebrated from Juneteenth to July 4th by communities across the country. Vote on popular variations of beloved meals, record memorable experiences surrounding food, and learn about the origins of Black culinary heritage.10am–2pmGatheround Exhibit
(Will move to Lower Swan Lawn at 2pm)
Signature SeasoningsWhether you like it sweet, savory, or spicy, engage your culinary senses by creating a dry rub while learning its use in enhancing smoked meats and the art of barbecue.10am–2pmAtrium
Barbecue Nation ExhibitionVisit Barbecue Nation, an exhibit that explores the history of barbecue and how this cooking technique inspires cuisines both on and off the grill.10am–2pmRountree Visual Vault
Community OutreachVolunteers from the Nu Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, INC., will be giving away free children’s books covering various Black history topics.10am–2pmExhibition Hallway
(Will move to Lower Swan Lawn at 2pm)
More Than Brave: The Life of Henry Aaron ExhibitionStep into More Than Brave, an exhibit that uncovers the story of Henry Aaron and his life as a leader in baseball, business, and charitable causes.10am–2pmNicholson Gallery
Quilting-up CuisinesLearn from Brown Sugar Stitchers Quilt Guild as they share African American culture through quilting, a longstanding tradition in the Black community. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in make-and-take quilt pieces.10am–2pmGrand Overlook Ballroom
Food from the SoilJourney through the origins of agriculture. Observe harvesting, cooking, and even preserving to learn how food impacts our daily lives and how it is used in northern Georgia.11am–3:30pmSmith Farm
AudioscapeThis unique experience invites visitors to discover the profound connection between African Americans and the land, showcasing how they ingeniously used nature for survival and prosperity.12–3pmBoardwalk in Goizueta Gardens
Upper Swan Lawn Activities
(Front Door Side of Swan House and Swan Driveway)
Kids ActivitiesHead to the lawn to enjoy a variety of activities including an obstacle course, Swan House baseball scavenger hunt, and field games!l11am–3pmUpper Swan Lawn
Backyard BaseballBatter up! Join former Chicago Cubs player and youth baseball coach C.J. Stewart from L.E.A.D. Center for Youth for a baseball fundamentals workshop for children ages 5-12. Test your skills and see if you have what it takes to join the major leagues.12:15pm, 1:15pm, 2:15pmUpper Swan Lawn
Lower Swan Lawn Activities
(Fountain Side of Swan House)
DJJoin us on the lawn for line dancing, musical chairs, and trivia as DJ Bad keeps us moving to the music!11:30am–3pmLower Swan Lawn
Lawn GamesGet outside and play Double Dutch, giant Jenga, Connect 4, and other lawn games. Also, kids can try their skills at an inflatable baseball experience.12–4pmLower Swan Lawn
FacepaintingFacepainting by India will entertain you with unique creations.12–4pmLower Swan Lawn
Yoga with DeKeely AtkinsJoin DeKeely of Form Yoga for a restorative stretching session on Swan Lawn. A limited number of blankets will be available; otherwise, bring your own mat or enjoy going barefoot in the grass.1:20–1:40pmLower Swan Lawn
Black National AnthemJoin us for a vocal performance of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed by Maiesha McQueen. In 1900, this poetic hymn was written and composed by brothers James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson, both NAACP activists, as a celebration of the past, present, and future Black experience.2pmLower Swan Lawn
Southern Komfort Brass Band Southern Komfort Brass Band will close out the event with music that will make you want to move your feet.3–4pmLower Swan Lawn
Food & DrinkFood Truck ParkChoose your favorite delicious Southern bite from an assortment of barbeque, desserts, and more! Meal items are available for purchase while supplies last.11am–3:30pmSwan House Parking Lot (Across from McElreath Hall)
BarAlcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available for purchase, including a signature Red Drink.11am–4pmLower Swan Lawn
HospitalityWater Stations All DayMuseum Terraces, Smith Farm, and Swan House
First AidAll DaySwan House Lawn and Exhibition Hall
Nursing Room A private room for nursing parents, located near the sensory-friendly space and additional restrooms.All DayClassrooms
(enter through Gatheround exhibition)
Sensory Friendly Room Indoor
A quiet place with kids’ books and sensory toys, along with restroom access.

Outdoor
Quiet places in our gardens for kids to enjoy the outdoors in a tranquil environment.
All DayIndoor
Classrooms (Enter through Gatheround exhibition)

Outdoor
Olguita’s Garden and Asian Garden
Information Desk All DayAtlanta History Museum front desk

2024. Vendors.

Juneteenth 2024 Toolkit

Help us spread the word about our upcoming Juneteenth program.

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2024. Presenting Sponsor.

2024. Additional Support.

Civic Season

Juneteenth is part of Atlanta History Center’s celebration of the Civic Season, a nationwide initiative encouraging historically-informed civic participation through a two-week activation between Juneteenth and July 4th.

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Freedom Across Georgia

At the end of the Civil War, millions of enslaved people living in the United States became free. “Freedom Across Georgia” explores the experiences of six formerly enslaved people from Georgia and their individual stories of freedom.

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2023. Look Back.

Related. Stories.

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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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.

Watch now
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.

Learn more
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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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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