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.

Join us on June 15 as we celebrate Black culinary heritage with America's pastime, baseball. Through on-campus events, from culinary demonstrations to museum theater, and exhibitions including More Than Brave: The Life of Henry Aaron, which explores the legacy of one of baseball's greatest players, and Barbecue Nation an exploration of the history of barbecue, we will highlight the legacy of Juneteenth and underscore the joyous union of food, family, and heritage. 

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 still refused to comply. A full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after Richmond fell, the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were declared free people. That momentous date in 1865 has been 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.

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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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.

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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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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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