The cessation of slavery in the United States is observed on June 19, or Juneteenth. The observance of Juneteenth had its beginnings in 1865 Galveston, Texas, with the arrival of Union soldiers armed with the good news of freedom. Although slavery was ended on January 1, 1863, by the Emancipation Proclamation, it was not until 1865 that enforcement of the Proclamation was attained. In 1997, the United States Congress recognized Juneteenth as Juneteenth Independence Day, and in 2010, the World Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement was established. Currently, a majority of states celebrate June 19 as a state holiday or day of observance, including Missouri.
Juneteenth offers the opportunity to come together to celebrate the freedoms enjoyed by all people of this country and to preserve the liberties and rights due each and every individual. In Missouri, civil rights are afforded protection through the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), which precludes adverse treatment based on a protected category such as race or color in employment, places of public accommodation, and housing. The Missouri Commission on Human Rights is the state agency responsible for the enforcement of the MHRA, primarily through the intake and investigation of complaints filed by aggrieved parties and through education and outreach designed to prevent discrimination and foster mutual understanding. If you believe you have been discriminated against due to race or any other category protected under MHRA, contact MCHR toll-free at 877-781-4236 or take the quick assessment to determine if the MHRA applies to your situation.
Celebrate Juneteenth at these Missouri events:
- Visit Columbia for the Annual Juneteenth Days event in Douglass Park on June 15-16 from 3 to 8 p.m. Festival goers will be treated to a wide range of family-friendly activities, including choir music, games, and food.
- Bring your lawn chair and celebrate with the citizens of Springfield on June 15. The Springfield Juneteenth festivities begin at noon and last until 5 p.m. in Silver Springs Park.
- Celebrate Juneteenth in Missouri’s capital beginning with a Father’s Day banquet on June 9, an emancipation program and a youth pageant on June 14, and an abundance of family-friendly activities and entertainment in Jefferson City’s Riverside Park on Saturday, June 15. E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and check for updated details at Juneteenthjcmo.org.
- Enjoy Juneteenth Jazz at the St. Louis celebrations on June 4 and June 6. These events pay tribute to both Juneteenth and Black Music Month. Visit the Juneteenth Jazz website for specific details and a full schedule of the extensive 2013 concert series.
- Plan to honor Juneteenth on June 16, with a West African musical performance including gospel, jazz, soul, rumba, and samba. The fun begins at 3 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.
- Visit Kansas City’s historic 18th & Vine District to celebrate Juneteenth with The International Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters on June 9, and to catch“Seeing Jazz”- a special session of Jazz Poetry Jams on June 18.