Chesapeake Country Celebrates Juneteenth with New Events

By Krista Pfunder 

Juneteenth—the oldest known recognition of the end of slavery in the U.S.—will be celebrated at festivals and events across the region this weekend. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Emancipation Day, June 19 commemorates the day in 1865 that Union Army general Gordon Granger announced to troops in Texas that slavery had been outlawed, even though the Emancipation Proclamation had ended it over two years previously.  

Annapolis, a prime port during the slave trade era, will acknowledge the turning point in that history with an evening reception, followed by a parade and festival. 

The inaugural Annapolis Juneteenth Celebration was unanimously approved by the City of Annapolis in Resolution 51-20, which was proposed by Mayor Gavin Buckley and Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson. The Maryland House has since passed a bill to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday.   

Last year, as CBM Bay Weekly reported, Juneteenth was marked in downtown Annapolis with a march for racial justice and equality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Buckley, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, and Anne Arundel County Police Chief Tim Altomare marched along with the community in the first formal county recognition of Juneteenth. This year’s event builds upon that march.  County buildings and all Anne Arundel County Public Libraries will be closed for the holiday. 

Annapolis Juneteenth Celebration 

June 18: A VIP reception at the Maryland Cultural and Conference Center (MC3) in Annapolis (6-9pm) features live entertainment, catered food, awards and African American art. The event will honor local and national trailblazers who have worked to serve the city of Annapolis’s most vulnerable communities through advocacy, public service and volunteering. Proceeds from the event benefit youth and Black-led programming in high-poverty communities. To register, go to:

June 19: A parade kicks off the festival (noon-2pm) featuring community organizations, marching bands, dance squads, floats, and more. The parade will begin at the Annapolis City Dock with a community prayer and opening remarks and will end at the steps of the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts with a brief ceremony, musical performance and ringing of the freedom bells. The festival will close with a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, theatrical performance, and tribute featuring local artists and creatives. To register, go to:

June 19: Juneteenth Music Festival at the Bates Athletic Complex — Weems Whalen — from 2-9PM. Live musical performances are expected to include The Chuck Brown Band, Young Dylan from Tyler Perry’s Nickelodeon show and others. Local vendors, food and art will be on site. Fireworks follow. To register, go to: 

Reconstruction and African American Memory: A Virtual Juneteenth Event 

June 19: Join the Banneker-Douglass Museum for a history lecture from Dr. Christopher J. Bonner, a historian and Associate Professor at the University of Maryland College Park, who most recently was seen analyzing the history displayed in Will Smith’s Netflix documentary, Amend. Following the Juneteenth lecture, Quint Gregory, University of Maryland College Park Art History Department will give a demonstration of the Smithsonian’s Freedmen Bureau Transcription project. 10am-2pm:

Calvert County 

Community Day with NAACP 

June 19: The annual Community Day Juneteenth Celebration presented by the Calvert County branch of the NAACP is at 11am-5pm at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. Enjoy a day of music, dance, rap, food and relating family oral history. A local talent show offers the chance for children, teens and adults to compete for cash prices. Children’s activities including a bike raffle and storytelling. Qualify for door prizes; view displays and exhibits from community businesses and organizations and enjoy delicious food. Free admission.