History of Juneteenth

Dating 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. 

Juneteenth in Chesterfield County

Today, many states recognize Juneteenth and activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. In celebration of Juneteenth, Chesterfield County collaborates with various partners to commemorate and recognize this important day. View what Juneteenth means to some Chesterfield County residents

Juneteenth 2022 Events

For questions about Chesterfield Juneteenth events, contact the Juneteenth committee

  1. Saturday, June 11
  2. Wednesday, June 15
  3. Friday, June 17
  4. Saturday, June 18
  5. Sunday, June 19

Saturday, June 11

Canceled Due to Weather: Fight for Freedom: The 116th at Dutch Gap
Learn about the hundreds of United States Colored Troops (USCT) soldiers who not only dug the Dutch Gap Canal under General Butler’s supervision, but were also present in Galveston, Texas when General Granger sent word to enslaved communities and their owners that they would be free forever. Learn more on the Henricus website.

Who's Behind the Name: The Story of Maggie Lena Walker
The name of Maggie Lena Walker (1864-1934) seems to pop up everywhere these days. She has been memorialized in bronze for not one but two statues in Richmond, VA in the last five years. Schools, community organizations, streets, banners and even a national historic site sport her name or image. Yet, not many people are truly familiar with her full story. Spend some time with Ajena Cason Rogers, supervisory park ranger at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. Learn the fascinating life story and achievements of one of Richmond's most famous, yet obscure, historical figures.
Registration: Free; registration required. To reserve a seat, call Historic Sites Manager Bryan Truzzie at 804-751-4946.
Time: Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: Castlewood - 10201 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832

Juneteenth Jubilee
Join us for the Juneteenth Jubilee emancipation celebration! The culture queen will use music, movement and storytelling to teach about this historic holiday where African Americans who were enslaved received news that they were finally free. For all ages.
Registration: Free; registration required. Registration begins Saturday, May 28
Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
Location: Meadowdale Library - 4301 Meadowdale Boulevard, North Chesterfield, VA 23234