Juneteenth June 19, 2022

Juneteenth, a blending of "June" and "19th," commemorates the emancipation of slavery in the United States. It originated in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived there to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Although President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Proclamation nearly three years before, on Sept. 22, 1862, it was not immediately adopted across all states.

Enforcement depended on the advance of Union troops, which were hard to come by in remote Texas, so it became a final holdout. The enforcement of emancipation there after a long wait was truly cause for celebration. The first Juneteenth celebration took place in Galveston on June 19, 1866, and it has since caught on across the country. In 2021, Juneteenth National Independence Day was formally declared the United States' 12th federal holiday. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared Juneteenth it a permanent paid state holiday in June 2020, and Lexington adopted it as a formal city holiday in 2021.

To celebrate Juneteenth, representatives from multiple Lexington and Rockbridge organizations join forces to plan a series of fun and thought-provoking events during the month of June, including history events, an art show, live music, food, and games.

Schedule of Events

DateEvent Description
Friday, June 3 Project Horizon Juneteenth Art Show Reception; Nelson Gallery; 5-7 pm
Saturday, June 18

Glasgow Juneteenth Celebration

12:00 - 2:30 pm Refreshments
12:00 - 3:30 Juneteenth Flag Raising, Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, Dedication of Community Center to former Glasgow Elementary Principal James E. Thompson, Yard Games, Free Lunch
5:00 - 8:30 pm Black History Trivia, Live Music, Refreshments, Fireworks at Dusk
Sunday, June 19

Juneteenth celebration from 1-6p.m. at Richardson Park

1:30 - 2:15 pm Lylburn Downing School Marker Celebration;
Keynote Speaker: Ms. Louise Johnson Mikell,  Downing aluma, teacher;
Original Downing School Building, 300 Diamond Street
2:15 - 3:00 pm Community Arts Reach (Gospel Youth Choir)
3:00 - 5:00 pm

Knockout Basketball Tournament

  • 3:00 pm - Youth 13 and under begin
  • 4:00 pm - Youth 14 and up begin
  • Tournament is free and no prior registration is required
3:30 - 5:30 pm

Caribbean Vibe Steel Drum Band

Food and retail vendors, all representing local Black-owned businesses:

Thank you to our sponsors!

  • City of Lexington
  • CARE Rockbridge
  • Rockbridge NAACP
  • Project Horizon
  • 50 Ways Rockbridge
  • Washington and Lee University Libraries, Office of Institutional History, Africana Studies Program, and Office of Community-Based Learning
  • Rockbridge Historical Society

Header image: "Mama Lu" by Linda Powell