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 Program from June 12-27, 2021, including a “Freedom Day” Fest, Jubilee Parade and Juneteenth Educational Series. 

Join Pittsburgh and Allegheny County on June 18-20 for the Juneteenth "Freedom Days" Celebration at Mellon Park. This event is a Celebration of all Cities and Boroughs in Allegheny County featuring Black music genre and youth programs, celebrity softball games, food trucks and a Battle of the Bands presentation. The 5th Annual Juneteenth Grand Jubilee Parade will be held on June 26. Starting at Freedom Corner, the parade will go through Downtown Pittsburgh from 11 am-1 pm. This year’s celebration also will include a Black Music Festival from June 24-27 and an educational series featuring four different sessions on June 12, 13, 16 and 20. 

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.