Ornamental Separator


June 19

Juneteenth marks the emancipation of thousands of enslaved people. Though President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, it was not until federal troops arrived in Texas more than two years later to enforce the proclamation, on June 19, 1865, that thousands of enslaved Black men and women in that state finally gained their freedom. Slavery would not actually come to an end in several other states until after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December of that year. We encourage you to learn more about this complex journey to emancipation in the timeline below. Each June 19, we invite you to join us in commemorating Juneteenth.

Read the Timeline

Juneteenth: Slavery and the struggle for Emancipation

Free Juneteenth Single-Day Ticket

In observance of Juneteenth, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is offering free admission to the Historic Area and the Art Museums on June 19 from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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Join Us for Special Programming

Visit Archaeological Sites

Custis Square Archaeology Project

Visit the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

“I made this…”: The Work of Black American Artists and Artisans

“I made this…” celebrates the lives of eighteenth through twentieth-century Black American artisans and artists through the material culture they created. Objects from both Decorative Arts and Folk Art collections will be displayed in the same gallery contrasting the aesthetics and designs of men and women from different times, places, and backgrounds. These pieces represent the inspirations, resilience, and legacies of these talented makers.

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Community Programming

The Juneteenth Community Consortium

The Juneteenth Community Consortium is an association of organizations in the Greater Williamsburg Area that organized with a common goal to educate, commemorate, and celebrate the end of slavery in America.

Williamsburg Live

Gather your friends for an unforgettable good time with Keb’ Mo’! Five-time Grammy. winner and recipient of the Americana Music Association’s 2021 award for Lifetime Achievement in Performance, this iconic artist has brought his feel-good blues to all kinds of stages from corner dives to the White House.

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Learn About Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth?

Bringing the Past to Life: From Archaeologists to Actors

Why We Commemorate Juneteenth

Watch the playlist below to hear from Colonial Williamsburg President Cliff Fleet, actor interpreters, and archaeologists about why Juneteenth is important.

Juneteenth at Custis Square

Additional Reading

Virtual Tour of the Randolph Site

Exploring African American History Through Music

Resources for Understanding Race and Inequality Through History

Slavery & Remembrance

Additional Resources

Learn even more about Juneteenth by exploring these resources from both our museum and other trusted institutions.

Whether you’re looking to read up on this topic before joining the conversation, or want some further reading afterward, here’s our recommended reading.

Colonial Williamsburg Juneteenth Resources
Colonial Williamsburg has created several related web resources, including an informational What is Juneteenth? page, a calendar of Juneteenth special events  at Colonial Williamsburg, and a Juneteenth Historical Timeline that provides history and context for the commemoration.

Juneteenth Resources from other Cultural Institutions
The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture offers The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth and the Library of Congress blog offers: The Birth of Juneteenth; Voices of the Enslaved
and "Emancipation Day in South Carolina . . .," an 1863 illustration from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

The Library of Virginia’s The Uncommonwealth blog focuses on Why Juneteenth? while PBS features What is Juneteenth? From Henry Louis Gates Jr. Additionally, the National Archives presents an online exhibit The Emancipation Proclamation that provides context on that document issued January 1, 1863.

Colonial Williamsburg Resource Library
The Resource Library provides access to numerous resources that explore relevant themes such as citizenship, civics, and government using video, lessons, and interactive web activities. The Resource Library features several relevant resources such as the When Freedom Came electronic field trip and Whose Emancipation?

Colonial Williamsburg Videos
Colonial Williamsburg’s YouTube Channel features 2020 productions Juneteenth at Custis Square and Before Juneteenth.

Further Reading
On Juneteenth. Annette Gordon-Reed.  New York, NY: Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2021.

For children:

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom. Angela Johnson. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014.

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