Does the Juneteenth holiday have historic connections to Kentucky?
Kentucky's connections to Juneteenth have grown over time, complicated by the state's historical divisions over enslavement. In fact, the state did not officially participate in the Civil War, even though enslaved people were brought to the state and remained enslaved. Most citizens believe that the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 legally ended slavery; however, the proclamation only applied to states which seceded from the Union and did not apply to Kentucky.
By the time the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in December, 1865, only nine states, Kentucky among them, still clung to the institution of slavery.
Some slaves in Kentucky won freedom by joining the army when President Lincoln declared that any slave joining the Union Army would be given freedom. Though the Civil War ended in April, 1865, bondage did not end for approximately 225,000 Kentucky slaves.
The Kentucky General Assembly rejected the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, 56-18 in the House and 23-10 in the Senate. But finally, in 1976, went on record against slavery - over 110 years since its enactment. One of 3 African American members of the Kentucky House, Rep. Mae Street Kidd (photo at right) introduced and worked to pass the ratification.
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.
Mae Street Kidd, photo
from Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. Click here to learn more about Kentucky's African American women leaders.
Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, August 8 Day Communities have records, some dating back to 1868, of "Emancipation Day" celebrations, "August 8 Days," or other public recognition of lifting the bondage of slavery. Although the "August 8 Celebrations" reflected the significant recognition of a turning point for formerly enslaved people, the date did not correspond to Granger's announcement in Texas. Nonetheless, communities, especially in Western Kentucky and Tennessee formulated holidays celebrating freedom from enslavement in August.
On January 10, 1876, Granger, the leader whose Texas announcement initiated Juneteenth celebrations, died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he was serving in command of the District of New Mexico.
Granger is buried at Lexington Cemetery in Kentucky.Click on this link to read more about Granger and how this Union Army General came to be connected with Kentucky and why his body was returned to Lexington as his final resting place.
This listing is just a beginning. If you have an event which you would like to have added, please complete this form - please note, in the "message" section of the form, that you wish for it to be added to the website listing.
Date: Sunday, June 20, 2021 at 2 PM – 6 PM
Location: Bandstand, Central Park, Ashland, KY
This year the Boyd/Greenup Co. chapter of the NAACP and Ashland for Change have teamed up to celebrate with Juneteenth.
Join the community on June 20th in Central Park in Ashland, KY for live music and performances, local food, community organizations and vendors. The park is located between 17th and 22nd Streets and Central and Lexington Avenues in Ashland. Check the Facebook event page for more details about the event in the coming weeks! Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
*BGFW & SOKY Marketplace 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration 2K21.
Date: Saturday, June 19, 2 PM - 10 PM
Location: 636 Center St, Bowling Green, KY
Contact: Karika Nelson
Free event; everyone is welcome. Food, family, fun & fellowship!
*BGFW & SOKY Marketplace 2nd Annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration
A holiday for everyone to come together to celebrate the Black Freedom Day as a community and to honor ancestors. June 19th, 1865 was the end of slavery in America. Organizers emphasize the shared history in the community. At 5 PM, June 19, a Juneteenth Ceremony will be held, with information on African American history in the U.S and in Bowling Green, and the importance of Juneteenth. Bring lawn chairs.
*Bowling Green Freedom Walkers (BGFW); click the link to connect to Facebook page.
-Live DJ all day
-Supporting Black small businesses and food vendors
-Unity march will be held around Bowling Green's Shake Rag District
-Juneteenth Ceremony & Speakers, at 5pm, June 19
-Bouncy houses for the youth and adults.
-Games & activities (cornhole)
*Parking structure is free parking*
Annual Heart of KY Juneteenth Celebration
Date: Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19, 2021
Location: West Lane Park, Harrodsburg, KY
Friday: Movie in the Park @ 8PM, West Lane Park,
345 West Lane, Harrodsburg. Double feature movie fun!
Saturday: Soooo much, starting at 11 AM at West Lane
tournament starts @2PM); 5 on 5 basketball tournament - call 859.613.4402; a City vs City softball tournament - register at
859.794.0606 before June 16; and a special Juneteenth Memorial Walk & Vigil to celebrate the lives of all the love ones lost over the years. To preorder a candle & spot for the memorial, click here. Volunteers needed - click here to sign up!
~ First Annual Juneteenth – Vendors & Small Business Celebration
Date: June 19, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT
Venue: 2781 B Fort Campbell Blvd, Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Come out and shop with some local and out of town vendors and small businesses as the community celebrates Juneteenth!
~ Hopkinsville Emancipation Day Celebration:
Date: Friday and Saturday, August 6th & 7th –– Virginia St. Park area;
Re-dedication of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger Gravestone.
Date: Saturday, Jun 19, 2021: 1:15 pm to 2:00 pm
Location: Lexington Cemetery, 833 W Main St, Lexington, KY
https://parkbench.com/event/re-dedication-of-maj-gen-gordon-granger-gravestone Also, Juneteenth Lexington maintains a Facebook page.
~ Juneteenth: Past, Present, Future including Poetry & Performances
Location: Roots 101 African American Museum
Date: Saturday, June 19; 12 Noon, assembly; site dedication, 1:30 PM
A Journey In Our Footprints Walk along the river, and an (Un)Known Project Site Dedication & Libation Ceremony overlooking the river at 1:30p. Louisville Metro will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine site open from 10a - 5p beside the Belle of Louisville.
While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, historically & currently with COVID-19 & racial uprisings of 2020 that citizens still have a long way to go when it comes to facing racism, health disparities, and medical mistrust. IDEAS-xLab, Roots 101, Frazier Museum, Louisville Metro & others will introduce the (Un)Known Project, which uses public art installations & experiences to support Louisville – the 4th most segregated city in America – in its current efforts in dealing with racism & inequity. Juneteenth will mark the unveiling of the 1st (Un)Known Project Public Art Installation on the banks of the Ohio River.
As part of the day, Louisville Metro will be hosting a COVID-19 Vaccine site open from 10a - 5p beside the Belle of Louisville.
~Juneteenth Voter Registration Drive
Date: Sat, Jun 19, 5 – 7 PM
Location: Louisville, KY
Join Rep. Attica Scott & HTTH for the annual Juneteenth Voter Registration Drive. Location information in June.
SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER: http://atticascott4ky.com/juneteenth-2021/7
~ Kentucky Black Festival Juneteenth Weekend (Four events)
1. Benefit Gayla - Black Excellence
Date: Friday, June 18, 7 PM
Location: Prestige by Luxe, 7015 Raggard Rd., Louisville KY
Official kickoff to Juneteenth weekend, led by the Kentucky Black Festival & the Reg Morgan Experience. Fundraiser for the Kentucky Black Festival's community activities for Juneteenth. Red Carpet at 7 PM; Dinner, 8 PM. ; 21+ Event, cash bar available; music by DJ Z-Nyce.
2. Bike Night - Glow Edition
Date: Friday, June 18, Evening
Location: Big A Shopping Center, 3100 Commerce Center One.
3. Unity Parade at Shawnee Park
Date: Saturday, June 19, 6:19 PM (parade start)
Location: 4501 West Broadway, Louisville KY
4. Fam Field Day - Celebrating all Fathers
Date: Sunday, June 20, 2021, 5 - 8 PM
Location: Algonquin Park, 1614 Cypress Park, Louisville KY
Date: Sat., Jun 19, 2021; 2 - 6 PM 2021https://www.facebook.com/events/281626840278866/
Location: Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N 6th St, Louisville, K
More on Facebook
~ Mr. and Miss Juneteenth Pageant
SAT, JUN 19, 2021 AT 02:00 PM TO 05:00 PM UTC-04:00
Holy Trinity Clifton School, 2117 Payne Street, Louisville, KY 40206
Mr. & Miss Juneteenth - celebration to commemorate emancipation from slavery. Louisville is celebrating solidifying the reality that black history is American history. Celebrating Juneteenth as a national holiday reminds us how far we've come & how far we have to go. Open to black, brown, bi-racial & our allies! https://stayhappening.com/e/mr-and-miss-juneteenth-pageant-E2ISTJKW3B6
~ Full Circle Comedy Presents: Juneteenth Comedy Spectacular
Date: Sat, June 19, 2021; 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM EDT
Location: 21st In Germantown, 1481 South Shelby St, Louisville KY
With: Brad Sativa, Mr. Bikey, Adriane Thompson, Thomas J. and James Ferguson. Full Circle Comedy presents Brad Sativa all the way from Nashville, with M. Bikey, Adriane Thompson, Thomas J & James Ferguson. Doors open at 8, showtime is 9.
21st in Germantown - food & drink, specials on tap. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/full-circle-comedy-presents-juneteenth-comedy-spectactular-tickets-154091747565
Date: Sat., June 29, 2021; 9am-12pm
Location: (Physical location: Roots 101-African American Museum, 124 N 1st, Louisville, KY; Virtual: Shawnee Friends of the Library Presents "Reclaim Our African Roots & Propel Futures" Online broadcast via facebook: http://facebook.com/shawneefotl
Event Description: African descendants often can not trace their family tree beyond 3 or 4 generations due to: separation of families & African tribes; stripping of birth names, history, culture & language; as well as poor record keeping during & after the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
This event seeks to reconnect African descendants with African roots through family trees & genetics in partnership with African Ancestry Inc., a black-owned business, founded by Dr. Gina Paige & Dr. Rick Kittles. In addition to reconnecting with African Ancestry, the event will propel futures by raising funds for college scholarships, provided by Shawnee Friends of the Library. All levels of support & sponsorship are welcome. Click here: https://bit.ly/reclaimourafricanroots
Event Organizers: Shawnee Friends of the Library & Glam Amor Therapy Community Partners: Louisville Free Public Library, Roots 101, Global Intervention Ventures in Education (G.I.V.E.) Contacts: Marilynn Johnson, Friends of the Shawnee Library, email: ShawneeFOTL@gmail.com Facebook: http://ShaweneeFriendsoftheLibrary
Woodford County Juneteenth - two days! Friday, June 18, in Versailles and Saturday at Midway, Jun 19, 12 – 9 PM
Location: Midway, KY
Come out to Woodford County's joint effort in celebrating America's Black Freedom. This celebration is 2 parts: Saturday's events will be held in Midway. Organized by Woodford County Juneteenth Festival Committee. Friday events will be in Versailles; Saturday’s activities, in Midway.
More information on Facebook"
To be added.
Date: Sat., June 19, 12 PM-9PM
Location: Pulaski Co. Judicial Center, 50 Public Square,
City of Somerset & the Lake Cumberland Diversity Council are partnering to host free community event — noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 19, Pulaski County Judicial Center Plaza — a celebration of the community’s black & multi-cultural heritage.
* Devine Carama
* The Sum of Its Parts
* The Soul Revue Band
Festival art features live creation from several regional & statewide artists, including Louisville’s Damon Thompson & Yolantha Pace, & Somerset’s Desmond Brittle & Bradley Shane Gilmore. These artists will create works under the theme, “What does diversity mean to you?” Work will be auctioned on Aug. 14 at the city’s #seemyset Art in the Park, Rocky Hollow, to benefit the #seemyset Art Fund. Festival includes food trucks & drink vendors from Somerset & across the state! Join us for a celebration of our community's culture and heritage.
Organizer Leslie Ikerd, Phone: (606) 679-6366
Facebook event page for more info!
A New Birth of Freedom: Commemorating Juneteenth in Kentucky
Fri, Jun 18, 2021 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
A New Birth of Freedom: Commemorating Juneteenth in Kentucky
Sponsored by the Thomas W. Bullitt Perpetual Charitable Trust.
Emancipation in the United States was over 200 years in the making by the time the 13th Amendment officially ended human bondage in 1865. But alternative paths to freedom had opened for many Black Kentuckians months or years before Congress acted. How had these Black Kentuckians pushed the government towards freedom during the Civil War? When is Kentucky’s Juneteenth? And what sites can we visit today to mark this anniversary of liberation? Filson Director of Collections & Research Dr. Patrick Lewis will answer these questions—and yours!
Dr. Patrick Lewis is the Director of Collections and Research at the Filson Historical Society. A Trigg County native, he graduated from Transylvania University and holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Kentucky. He has worked for the National Park Service and the Kentucky Historical Society, and has won digital history grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Lewis is author of For Slavery and Union: Benjamin Buckner and Kentucky Loyalties in the Civil War (2015).