The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863,
freed slaves in southern states during the Civil War. However, the good news did
not reach slaves in Galveston, Texas until June 19, 1865. On this date they
celebrated the final execution of the Emancipation Proclamation. June 19th was
shortened to JUNETEENTH, a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth”. Former
slaves flooded the streets and rejoiced. On this day, JUNETEENTH – African
Americans were finally free! Lest we forget, the first Juneteenth celebration had a
bittersweet tinge: celebrating freedom, but never forgetting the nightmare of
slavery. JUNETEENTH became a tradition for African American communities in
the south, and as they migrated to other parts of the US, the tradition of
JUNETEENTH went with them.
Adeline-Alcatraz Merchants Association, organized to promote the economic
and social well-being of residents and small business in South Berkeley
started Juneteenth in Berkeley, to highlight the Adeline Corridor, and
promote community pride and cooperation. Berkeley Juneteenth Association,
Inc. (BJAI), a non- profit established in 1987, celebrated the first annual
Berkeley Juneteenth Festival in 1986. Cultural events like Chinese New Year,
Saint Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and JUNETEENTH, celebrate our
diversity and unify us as a community when we can come together to
Berkeley Juneteenth is a street festival held annually on Father’s Day in June, in the South Berkeley district, known as Lorin or Adeline Corridor, Location: Ashby and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Alcatraz Street; Adeline and Alcatraz to the Ashby BART.
Ecology Center is thrilled to join this celebration; stop by to learn about our curbside recycling program, connect with our climate equity work, and buy something from our EcoStore pop up.