Donna Phillips & Mary Kozak talk to Good Morning Kentucky's Kellie Wilson about the play, "Blow Ye Trumpet Blow," which was performed June  5 & 6, 2011 at Camp Nelson, Kentucky.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth (“June” plus “nineteenth”) is celebrated annually on the 19th of June throughout the United States, with varying official recognition. It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. 

This link to the History Channel's resources provides more

background, context, and history, with photos and videos.

Learn more about this important holiday!

Communities of formerly enslaved people celebrated freedom in a number of ways,

prior to the holiday we now call Juneteenth. Especially in western Kentucky,

August 8 was celebrated for decades as the recognition of freedom from slavery. 

Freedom from slavery was celebrated by many other names: 

Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. 

Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, August 8 Day As other states began to commemorate the freedom of all citizens, including formerly enslaved people, communities throughout the Commonwealth followed suit. In 2005, Kentucky's Legislative Research Commission documented that  "Emancipation Day" was celebrated in Kentucky cities such as:

~   Allensville

~   Bowling Green

~   Covington


Who has celebrated Juneteenth in Frankfort, KY?

2000 - 2009

In 2010, citizens in South Frankfort held the 1st Annual Juneteenth Celebration for Frankfort.  Later in 2011, the group again organized the "Juneteenth Family Fun in the park!" at Dolly Graham City park on River Street.


2010 - 2020

2020, Focus on Race Relations: Frankfort (FORR) and Josephine Sculpture Park (JSP) presented the Juneteenth Frankfort/Franklin County Round Table on Facebook Live via JSP's Facebook page. 
FORR Frankfort and JSP partnered to celebrate Juneteenth, described in the YouTube video at left. As the week's culminating event, those participating in the round table via Facebook Live discussed local race issues and solutions in Frankfort/Franklin County. 

Click here to view recordings from Frankfort's 2020 Juneteenth Round Table - the session was recorded in two parts. Click to view part one:

Round table participants included:

Dr. Crystal deGregory — Historian, Storyteller, Cultural Communicator

• Mary Hamilton — Focus on Race Relations

• Cathy Thomas — National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - Frankfort Chapter

• Katima McMillan — For The People Coalition

• Gerry Seavo James — Founder of the Explore Kentucky Initiative, social artist and storyteller

•  Karen Armstrong-Cummings — Together Frankfort

This was the culminating event for a weeklong virtual Juneteenth celebration during which FORR & JSP elevated black and African American voices and art, and shared anti-racism resources and discourse. FORR and JSP encourages others to post activities, ideas, or thoughts about Juneteenth throughout the week leading up to Juneteenth using #juneteenthky.

2000 - 2009

In 2010, citizens in South Frankfort held the 1st Annual Juneteenth Celebration for Frankfort

2010 - 2019

Later in 2011, the group organized the "Juneteenth Family Fun in the Park!" at Dolly Graham City park on River Street. The weekend events included the following.

June 17 - June 19, 2011 - Exclusive Events - The weekend celebration focused on past, present, and future.

Friday, June17, 2011: An original play performed on Friday night. "Blow ye the Trumpet Blow" a two act plat written by Donna Phillips & Georgie Riddell, Commissioned by the Camp Nelson Foundation.
Synopsis: During The American Civil War, brave African-American men, women and children escaped to union camps for a chance at freedom. They were joined by the Pleasant Hill Singers, who performed "Music of the Black Shakers".

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Juneteenth Family Fun in the park!! Dolly Graham Park, in Frankfort, KY, Juneteenth was celebrated from noon until dusk:  food, games, and crafts were available.  Music all day by local D.J's, Food Network's "Bar-B-Que Throw Down" Competitor, Wendell Thomas sold his prize winning B-B-Q!  Other activities during the celebration included a cake walk, and games with prizes for children.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Good old Fashion "Gospel Sing" Down by the Riverside.

River City Drum Corp Juneteenth Compilation: JSP week-long Juneteenth Celebration
Jun 19, 2020

2021 Juneteenth in Frankfort, Kentucky

Opportunities for Participation & Learning

Conversation with Peyton Scott Russell &  Melanie VanHouten:

JSP week-long 2020 Juneteenth Celebration

​Together Frankfort

What are some events in which I can participate to celebrate Juneteenth in Frankfort?

Virtual Juneteenth with: Josephine Sculpture Park; Focus On Race Relations; For The People; Together Frankfort


Read. Read. Read.

Visit the Paul Sawyier Library Public Library. Ask to see their books, children's and adult, about Juneteenth. Email in advance & ask about Juneteenth books. Use this link to email Diane Dehoney at the Library.

A number of children's books have been published.  Here are a few:  

~  Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
~  All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson 
~  Juneteenth (On My Own Holidays (Paperback)) by Drew Nelson

Books for adult readers relevant to Juneteenth are numerous.  Here is a reading list to give some ideas.  Again, check at the Paul Sawyier Public Library (email Diane Dehoney) to see which they might have available.



~ Frankfort & Franklin County, KY: 

Visit Frankfort's two of the 43 sites on Kentucky's Slavery & Emancipation History Tour. (Did you know that Kentucky has a trail commemorating the history of emancipation?)

1.  Kentucky African American Civil War Memorial in the

historic Green Hill Cemetery. Frankfort's historically black cemetery

includes the only monument in Kentucky that honors the nearly

25,000 African American Kentuckians who served in the

United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War.

​2.  The Frankfort Barracks. The Frankfort Barracks (built 1871) in south Frankfort on Shelby Street, were constructed by local master mason Alexander Brawner & leased to the US military from 1871 - 1876.The atrocities that were committed against freedmen & freedwomen of Kentucky during the reconstruction era were readily documented by the Freedmen’s Bureau. Incidents including the stabbing of former United States Colored Troops soldier George Mukes after he attended an African American political meeting in Frankfort in 1872 were all too common, especially after black men obtained the right to vote.

3.  Kentucky State University.