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Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth is a celebration honoring the day when Black slaves were legally freed in the United States, June 19, 1865. It commemorates the day when General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to announce the news that the slaves were free. States and cities around the country celebrate the holiday differently. Some have celebrations, like the town of West Hartford has. Others celebrate with parades, festivals, oral histories and readings, concerts and barbecues. Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a State Holiday. Forty-seven states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance. Connecticut is one of those states.

Juneteenth Booklists

Check out our Juneteenth eBook and eAudiobook Reading List here.

Check out the upcoming list of Juneteenth programs around town!

Juneteenth Art Show

June 5 – 19, 2021
Open to All Artists of Color
The Intersection of Community, Black Joy, Freedom, History & Education

  • The exhibit will be open during regular hours of library operation (
  • The exhibit is open to all artists of color.
  • All submitted art will be displayed.
  • Accepted media include painting, drawing, photography, graphics, fiber and printmaking.
  • Submitted art must be able to be displayed on an easel or stand (preferably provided by artist. If an easel or stand is needed, please note in submission form).
  • Artists may submit up to two works.
  • Work(s) cannot be larger than 32 inches by 20 inches.
  • There is no fee to submit and artists may sell their works.
  • Artists must deliver their work to the Noah Webster Library (20 South Main Street) on Friday June 4 between 12 Noon – 3 PM.

To register, click HERE

For questions & additional info, please contact Chuck Coursey at

Juneteenth Celebration and Mural Unveiling

Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration, June 19 & 20

West Hartford will hold its second annual Juneteenth CommUNITY Celebration on Saturday, June 19th and Sunday, June 20th.

A portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth,” Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that they were free from the institution of slavery. This announcement came almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. An order stating that all enslaved people were free changed the relationship between “former masters and slaves” as “employers and hired laborers.” Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day.

West Hartford’s celebration begins at 10:00AM on Saturday, June 19th at the Old Center Cemetery for the Installment Ceremony of the Witness Stones Project.  Through research, education, and civic engagement, the Witness Stones Project seeks to restore the history and to honor the humanity and contributions of enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.

At 12PM the fun begins with music, games, performances and more! The event begins with a community picnic held outside at West Hartford Town Hall, 50 South Main St. DORO Group will be offering a special Juneteenth-themed boxed lunch that is preordered and picked up at Town Hall. The southern-style lunch is complete with sweet tea, two pieces of roasted rotisserie chicken served cold, cornbread, creamy coleslaw and sweet potato pie. (click here to place your order). Shake Shack will also be scooping up free custard for dessert. Local DJs B-EZ and Q-Boogie will be providing the non-stop dance hits, and performers of all ages will keep us inspired and entertained throughout the afternoon. There will also be local vendors and non-profit organizations you can visit as well. Each child will receive a Juneteenth Activity Packet and crayons. Come ready to show off your hula hoop and jump roping skills and sign-up for the contests at the event.

We are honored to announce our keynote speakers are Dr. Lorna Thomas-Farquharson of the West Hartford Board of Education and her daughter Juliana Farquharson of Sedgwick Middle School and founder of Students Against Racism. The speeches will begin with a traditional African drumming ceremony, performed by Alvin Carter Jr. and Friends of the World.  Hartford’s Proud Drill, Drum & Dance Corp. will perform and get attendees on their feet as we make our way to Webster Walk in Blue Back Square.

Juneteenth Art Exhibition entitled, “The Intersection of Community, Black Joy, Freedom, History, and Education,” will take place from June 5-19 at the Noah Webster Library, 20 South Main Street. The library will be giving out free commemorative Juneteenth bookmarks during that period.

At 2:30PM, the MLK, Jr. mural, created by nationally renowned and local artist Corey Pane, along with help from the public, will officially be unveiled. This piece on the library building at pays homage to the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and West Hartford’s past, present and future and takes a moment to reaffirm our belief in liberty and justice for all.

West Hartford’s mural is part of CT Mural/RiseUp project MLK39 Racial Equity Mural Tour in which 39 murals will be created in 39 towns, one for each year of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, from now through 2022.

Live music, speakers and special performances by Impact Choir and other local artists are featured at Blue Back Square following the unveiling.

On Sunday, June 20th at 10:00AM, First Church of Christ Congregational, 12 South Main Street, will have a service inspired by the 1812 sermon by Re. Nathan Perkins widely published, “Fast Sermon.” Following the service, please join us at 11:30AM for the official dedication of the newly renamed Unity Green, to celebrate the progress of West Hartford’s commitment to social justice and community. There will be guest speakers and light refreshments.

Juneteenth 2021 celebration is the result of a partnership with community members, Concerned Parents of Color, WHAASCO, Noah Webster Library, West Hartford Arts Commission, and the Town of West Hartford.