The cessation of slavery in the United States is observed on June 19th, 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, forty-one states celebrate the 19th of June 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, or 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:
- Join the Kansas City Juneteenth festivities on June 16, 2012, celebrating the reopening of the Black Archives and the continued progression of the historic 18th and Vine District in Kansas City.
- The Juneteenth Heritage Festival, June 10-16, 2012, will be held at 608 East Dunklin Street in Jefferson City. This family-friendly event will feature diverse activities, including live jazz music and a Juneteenth talent competition.
- Enjoy Juneteenth Jazz in the St. Louis celebration on June 4 and June 6, 2012. These events pay tribute to both Juneteenth and Black Music Month. The concert series will also perform in Kansas City on June 9, 2012
- Juneteenth Celebration 2012: A Cultural Celebration of "UHURU!" - Freedom! On Saturday, June 16, 2012, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 4000 Maffitt Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63113-3235 (map), join with Sabayet Tutoring Program, Brothers to Brothers & Sisters Too, Asbury U.M. Church, The Ville Neighborhood Association, artists, educators, creative crafts persons, business and other community members, as SABAYET, Inc. presents its 6th Annual Juneteenth Celebration, featuring live music, African dance, food, entertainment, pony rides, vendors, and more.
- The Community Juneteenth Freedom Celebration in Hannibal has educational and entertainment offerings available June 19-22, 2012.