Juneteenth Celebrations in New York
Juneteenth is a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, and celebrated on 19th June to mark the day when the last set of slaves in Texas were free, two and a half years after the siging of the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in the US. A federal holiday since 2021, there were celebrations all over New York to commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth this year. I liked the theme of educating people as a recurring theme in all the celebrations that I attended, or even in the Juneteenth: A Gloabl Celebration for Freedom Concert that I am watching on CNN as I write this post.
I managed to make my way to the celebrations in Times Square and Central Park today, and am sharing some of my pictures and videos in this post.
The celebrations in Times Square had both 2022 Tony Winners from the Musical category, Joaquina Kalukango from Paradise Square and Myles Frost from MJ the Musical.
Leslie Uggams and Ben Vereen were the two inaugural recipients of the Juneteenth Legacy Awards.
There was an amazing performance of Young Gifted and Black by a group of very talented children.
The Juneteenth celebrations in Central Park were at Seneca Village, where there were different events going on concurrently. Nearly 200 years ago, Seneca Village was a community of predominately free African-American property owners at what is now the area between 82nd and 89th Streets by Central Park West, that were made to leave their homes for Central Park to be constructed. Much of this history was forgotten till the 1990s, when Seneca Village was rediscovered, researched and brought back into the conversation as an important part of New York history.
I was lucky to catch Ruben Santiago-Hudson performing at the Juneteenth Celebrations at Seneca Village –
There was a run that was going on in parallel
There were educational and commemorative events at many places in Seneca Village
There is much history to be learnt at Seneca Village starting with the purchase of land there by Andrew Williams in 1825, and the community that lived there through 1857. It is a location in Central Park that is definitely worth a visit.