Pittsburgh Celebrates Juneteenth Freedom Day

Pittsburgh Embraces Juneteenth – the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

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Pittsburgh will celebrate Juneteenth and Black Music Month from June 18-27, 2021, featuring the WPA Juneteenth Freedom Days, Pittsburgh Black Music Festival, Juneteenth-Jubilee Parade and Youth Fest.

Join Pittsburgh and Allegheny County on June 18-20 for Juneteenth Freedom Days at Point State Park. This event is a Celebration of all Cities and Boroughs in Allegheny County featuring Black music genre and youth programs, African American Culture Education, food trucks, speakers and a variety of music showcases. The 5th Annual Juneteenth Grand Jubilee Parade will be held on June 26. The parade will go through Downtown Pittsburgh from 10 am-1 pm. This year’s celebration also will include a Black Music Festival from June 24-27 including Jazz, Gospel, RnB and Soul artists at Point State Park. 

For more information on the 2021 Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Celebration & Black Music Festival, please visit WPAjuneteenth.com

History of Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. 

“Juneteenth” serves as a way to celebrate and commemorate the news shared on June 19, 1865. Early celebrations included reassurance among descendants, praying and gathering of remaining family members. In fact, many of the activities present at the first Juneteenth celebrations, including fishing, barbecuing and baseball, are still present today. Most importantly, the day is a time for education and self-improvement. 

On June 19, 2019, Pennsylvania officially designated June 19 a state holiday – “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.” In August 2020, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto declared that Juneteenth will become a City holiday in 2021; and in October, Allegheny County Council made Juneteenth a county holiday beginning in 2021.