Celebrating Cultural Diversity in June  

JuneteenthDating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Attempts to explain this two-and-a-half-year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.
Today many states recognize Juneteenth, but many activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday.

In celebration of Juneteenth, Chesterfield County has collaborated with various partners to commemorate and recognize this important day.

Chesterfield County Public Library Events

Chesterfield County Public Library will host five StoryWalks ®, one in each magisterial district, from Friday, June 18 through Friday, July 2. Take a stroll around one, or all, of the locations to read the picture book. The StoryWalks are accessible during park or building hours and feature different picture books at each location. For more information, visit the CCPL StoryWalk event website

  •   ‘All Different Now’ by Angela Johnson
    • Bensley Recreation Center, 2900 Drewrys Bluff Road, Richmond
    • Ettrick-Matoaca Library, 4501 River Road, Petersburg 
  • ‘Juneteenth Jamboree’ by Carole Boston Weatherford
    • River City Sportsplex (back fields), 13030 Genito Road, Midlothian
  •  ‘Juneteenth for Mazie’ by Floyd Cooper 

    • Central Library, 7051 Lucy Corr Blvd, Chesterfield

Additionally, CCPL is hosting a virtual program, “Juneteenth: Its History and Cultural Significance,” with historian Nathan Richardson on Saturday, June 12, at 9 a.m. Richardson will provide historical context to the events leading up to the original Juneteenth and the importance of recognizing Juneteenth today. The video will remain available on the CCPL YouTube Channel after its initial airing on June 12.

For more information to help understand and celebrate Juneteenth, CCPL has created a list of resources that discuss the history of Juneteenth and the events leading up to Juneteenth.

Pocahontas State Park Event

On Saturday, June 19, Pocahontas State Park will hold “Juneteenth in the Park.” Join in on a day of learning, reflection and fun at the park with activities planned all day. There will be food trucks, entertainment, vendors and self-guided activities that can be completed at your own pace from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the Pocahontas State Park website.

Chester YMCA Event

Get active this Juneteenth by attending the Chester YMCA free Juneteenth Zumba dance event on Saturday, June 19 at 9:45 a.m. This 90-minute class is free to members and the community so come out and dance, move and enjoy some great music on this day of freedom.