Join us for Juneteenth weekend and explore the complex history of the end of slavery in the United States. Gain an in-depth understanding of what enslaved peoples went through to secure their freedom and why their experiences are relevant today through museum theatre performances, author presentations, talk-back sessions, crafts, and more.

Food for purchase will be available all weekend long.

This is a free admission weekend. Guests are invited to enjoy the program as well as Atlanta History Center’s historic houses, gardens, and exhibitions.


McElreath Hall Activities

Featured Program Genealogy Workshop with Emma Davis-Hamilton
Duration: 90 minutes

Census records are critically important to family history research, but we often miss essential clues when we don’t completely understand the records and look at them thoroughly with a critical eye. Join Emma Davis-Hamilton, Georgia Genealogical Society board member and past president of the Atlanta Chapter, Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, for the workshop “Wringing Out the Sheets: Getting Every Last Drop of Information from Census Records.”

Featured Program The Weeping Time with Kiplyn Primus and Dr. Kwesi deGraft Hanson
Duration: 1 hour

The largest known sale of enslaved people in North America took place in March 1859 in Savannah. Kiplyn Primus and Kwesi deGraft Hanson of OCEANS, the Organization to Commemorate formerly Enslaved African Americans, will discuss their ongoing work to memorialize the 436 men, women, and children who were auctioned off over two days at the Ten Broeck Race Course. Rain fell unceasingly throughout, like teardrops, so the sale has come to be known as “The Weeping Time.” Primus, a public affairs radio show host, and Hanson, a landscape architect, have found their own family names represented on a listing of the enslaved people sold then. The OCEANS founders have hosted commemorative events in Savannah and Atlanta, and are working to make the observance into an annual event, among other initiatives.

Featured Author Program Christina Proenza-Coles, American Founders
Duration: 1 Hour

Hear author Christina Proenza-Coles discuss her new book, American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World. American Founders gives us the American origin story as we have never seen it, defined by the struggles and triumphs of African-descended explorers, soldiers, sailors, lawyers, litigants, artists, activists, translators, teachers, doctors, nurses, mathematicians, engineers, entrepreneurs, priests, and presidents. Proenza-Coles’s groundbreaking book defies and dissolves conventional divisions in American history—black/white, free/slave, North/South—and replaces them with a deeper, richer understanding that highlights our common roots and sheds light on our shared future.

Atlanta History Museum Activities

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
The Order of Freedom

12:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:45pm
Duration: 40 minutes

Ever wondered about the history behind Juneteenth? Written by Atlanta History Center playwright Addae Moon, The Order of Freedom explores the impact of the issuance of General Order No. 3, by General Gordon Granger, on June 19, 1865, and the challenges faced by Cora and James Lewis as they begin their journey from slavery to citizenship.

USCT Civil War Experience
12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm
Duration: 1 hour Space is limited so please arrive early

Take on the role of a real soldier who fought in the Civil War for the United States Colored Troops, volunteering for duty in 1863. Presented with various real-life scenarios, you must make vital decisions that could affect your life and well-being.

Mama Koku’s Stories
1:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:00pm

Duration: 30 minutes Lean in, watch, and listen, as Atlanta storyteller Mama Koku shares stories from freedom, through slavery, to sweet freedom again. If the spirit hits, she might ask you to come up on stage and help her tell it!

Smith Family Farm Activities

Michael W. Twitty Cooking Demonstrations

Join bestselling author, James Beard Award winner and renowned culinary historian Michael Twitty as he demonstrates the rich history of African and African American food traditions in the South.

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Mary Elizabeth Bowser

12:15pm, 1:15pm, 3:15pm, and 4:00pm
Duration: 15 minutes

On the Smith Farmhouse front porch, meet Union spy Mary Bowser. As a visitor you become a trusted confidant working for the estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Listen as Bowser shares her struggles of living a double life, as an educated free woman pretending to be an unassuming servant in order to capture vital information for Union forces.

Meet the Past Museum Theatre Performance
Freedom: Jubilee and Uncertainty
11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm
Duration: 10 minutes

Jackson and Nicey are preparing for their future as newly liberated citizens by planning their own wedding. On the eve of this momentous occasion, Nicey’s estranged brother, James, returns with plans of his own. Journey with them as they explore the challenging options freedom provides.

Afterward, visit with the performers as they shed light on the complex history of enslavement and the Reconstruction era.

See Sunday's Schedule