This June our Culture Corner will be focusing on the Juneteenth holiday; the reasons behind celebrating it, and what Explore & More will be doing to join in the celebration.
The origins of Juneteenth trace back to Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865, this is the location and time that some of the last enslaved African Americans were set free, after the conclusion of the Civil War. A year later, the Black citizens of Galveston commemorated this monumental day by singing and gathering to acknowledge their newfound freedom. From its simple origins, the day of remembrance grew organically, across Texas, then throughout the South. Once the 20th century began, the celebration made its way North, as did many African Americans.
Juneteenth itself grew too, as it went from a simple gathering and reflection of the past to an event that celebrates all aspects of Black American culture. For instance, it is commonplace to have Juneteenth parades, cookouts, and fairs. Juneteenth became a federally recognized holiday on June 19th, 2021, 155 years after its inaugural celebration.
Explore & More will be joining in the Juneteenth celebrations with activities and events both at our own site and across the WNY region. On Friday, June 17th, we will welcome the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, and educators from their organization will be leading crafts in the Tinkering Tank. Simultaneously a representative from Explore & More will head to the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center site to help commence celebrations. On Saturday the 18th members from Explore & More will head to Martin Luther King Jr. Park, accompanying many other community organizations. Our staff will be bringing the Imagination Playground and Betty Lou Moo, which facilitate a focus on play. Explore & More is proud to be participating in Juneteenth activities both in our own walls and throughout the community. We hope you join us in celebrating Juneteenth!