Juneteenth: Where to celebrate in the Upstate

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UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – Juneteenth, a recently deemed federal holiday in the United States, is known by many as a day for celebrating and commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865 when 2,000 Union troops arrived and General Garanger read this order to enslaved African Americans:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

-Garanger, General Order Number 3

Over 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were notified of their freedom on June 19, 1865 — also known as African American Emancipation Day or Juneteenth.

In today’s age, Juneteenth is acknowledged through commemorative celebrations such as picnics, cookouts, poetry slams and rallies for justice. Here’s a few celebrations happening in the Upstate this weekend:

2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration of Black Excellence – One of the largest Juneteenth Celebrations in the Upstate. Featuring music, dancing, food, art and vendors in the heart of downtown. Saturday, June 19 – 2:00 P.M. – 9:00 p.m. – Celebration of Black Excellence at the Peace Center in Greenville, S.C. Learn more.


Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration – Hosted by The Sustaining Way at the Phillis Wheatley Center from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday June 19. You’re also invited to nominate a Nicholtown father for our special Father’s Day Recognition! Please note that this event is being held outdoors. Learn more


Say What Poetry Open Mic Celebrates Juneteenth at Coffee Underground – The night will feature Juneteenth as the poetry open mic theme. Slots for open mic are on a first come, first serve basis. Sunday, June 20 starts at 7:00 p.m. at Coffee Underground. Click here for details


Urban League Juneteenth Community Cookout – Urban League of the Upstate will have a community cookout to celebrate Juneteenth, come and listen to live music, eat and have some family fun. Happening at Long Branch Baptist Church from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. Click here for details.


Juneteenth Festival – 3 on 3 Basketball Finals, fashion shows, art shows, contests, prizes, live music, face painting, balloon artists, story telling and more. Happening at Norton Thompson Park in Seneca, S.C. from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Click here to learn more.

For more information on where to celebrate click here.

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