Juneteenth takes place every year on June 19, which marks the moment when the last American slaves were freed in 1865. Black Americans have celebrated the day for more than 150 years, but it wasn’t proclaimed a federal holiday until 2021. Here are seven ways to commemorate this occasion.
1. Attend an event
Many neighborhoods have public celebrations with music, performances, and food.
2. Host a party
Invite friends and family members over for a backyard barbecue. Consider serving strawberry soda, which is a traditional drink symbolizing the bloodshed by generations of Black Americans.
3. Support Black-owned businesses
Whether it’s a restaurant, special service, or retail business, Black-owned establishments can benefit from your support.
4. Listen to Black artists
Music is a significant part of Juneteenth, and June also happens to be Black Music Month. Create a playlist of Black artists to play during the day.
5. Read books by Black authors
Look for books depicting the history of slavery or the Black experience in America as told from a Black perspective.
6. Educate yourself
Visit a museum or cultural center, or watch a documentary to learn why Juneteenth is significant.
7. Volunteer or donate
Make a difference by helping groups advocating for voting rights, Black justice, or Black women.
Juneteenth is a day for all Americans to celebrate freedom and acknowledge the atrocities of slavery.
Did you know?
Juneteenth has been celebrated under many names, including Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, to name just a few.
One if by land, Two if by sea: the famous ride of Paul Revere
American Independence Day is officially celebrated on July 4, the day that the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was a momentous act of rebellion against George III, but open warfare had already begun more than a year before, ushered in when Paul Revere and two friends swiftly acted to warn their fellow Sons of Liberty and rebels that British troops were on the move.
The Sons of Liberty were a loosely organized secret group aimed at destabilizing British rule over the American colonies and intimidating the people loyal to them. They had operated for at least 10 years, mobilizing in 1765 to oppose the Stamp Act, a tax on documents that the British Parliament repealed after a year of fierce opposition. But, by 1773, the British and the colonists in America were close to war when the Sons dumped 92,000 pounds of tea in Boston Harbor, an act known today as the Boston Tea Party. By April 1775, the British had had enough and were sending troops to take the guns from rebels, seize gunpowder and arrest the leaders of the Sons, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.
On the evening of April 18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren contacted his friend Paul Revere and instructed him to ride from Boston to Lexington, Mass., to warn the Sons that British troops were coming by water. Revere was to take up the alarm, alerting colonists around Boston of the impending threat.
Days before, he had contacted a friend, most likely the sexton of Boston’s Old North Church, to signal when British troop movements were known by putting a lantern in the steeple of the church.
Famously: One if by land and two if by sea. Fellow Sons of Liberty across the Charles River would be waiting to know if the British planned to row “by sea” across the river to Cambridge.
Two friends rowed Revere across the river to Charlestown, where he snuck past a British warship in the darkness and mounted a borrowed horse for his famous midnight ride. The munitions were saved from British seizure and the next day, an unknown soldier fired the “shot heard round the world” that began the Battles of Lexington and Concord — the first battle of the American Revolution.
Paul Revere, accompanied by at least three other riders, successfully raised the alarm and mobilized the local militia. His ride became famous much later, though, in the famed 1861 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow whose fictionalized version made Revere a star. According to the poem, Revere shouted “The British are coming!” but, in fact, he shouted the more prosaic “The Regulars are coming!”
A block party for the Fourth
Why not celebrate Independence Day in your own neighborhood by holding a Fourth of July block party? Here are a few fun, safe event ideas for folks of all ages.
• Mini parade. Host a kid-sized procession on your street with decorated bikes, skateboard floats, and roller skaters in costume. Amplify the holiday spirit with noisemakers and toy musical instruments. Make sure you get permission from your municipal authority to close the street to vehicular traffic.
• Homemade concert. Showcase the talent in your community with a lineup of karaoke divas, dad bands, closet stand-up comics, and sock puppet masters. Charge a modest admission fee and donate the proceeds to a local charity.
• Outdoor film screening. Choose family-friendly patriotic classics such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or Yankee Doodle Dandy. If you’re looking for something more contemporary, try The Sand Lot.
• Pet-friendly light show. If town by-laws or your pets’ sensitive ears prohibit fireworks, use sparklers or glow sticks to light up the night. A hot dog eating contest around a backyard fire pit makes a fun after-dark spectacle.
Get creative, let loose, and have fun this Independence Day.
Happy Father’s Day! Today’s dads are present and caring
A wonderful thing has happened to fathers since the day of the “man in the gray flannel suit.” That was in the 1950s and 1960s when kids were expected to be quiet, not bother Dad, and stay out of the way. It wasn’t true of all dads, but it was for many. Their work was their primary interest and family came in a distant second.
It took a couple of decades for things to change. By the 1980s, dads were beginning to take an interest in their sons and daughters. In the next decade, they were spending more time with them, but actually raising the family still seemed to primarily be the mother’s job.
Around the time of the millennium, a transformation was taking place. The great thing about it was that fathers were becoming involved in all aspects of their children’s lives. That included sharing the responsibility and pleasure of bringing up their sons and daughters.
It’s a joy to watch today’s dads as they interact with their children. They are involved in their kids’ lives. They can change a diaper, take care of a three-year-old, advise a middle-schooler and give driving lessons. What’s more, they are enjoying it.
A sincere Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads who work with us. The world will be a better place because of you and the capable children you are raising.
Thanks for everything, Dad
Do you have a wonderful dad? Do you tell him often enough how much you love him and how lucky you are to have him? Take advantage of Father’s Day to let him know, in person or in a letter, thanking him for everything he’s done — and still does — for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas that may speak to your relationship:
• Thank him for attending your dance performances, piano recitals, hockey games, or volleyball tournaments
• Thank him for driving you to medical appointments, extracurricular activities, and your friends’ houses
• Thank him for reassuring you when you’re scared or worried
• Thank him for listening to your joys, disappointments, and dreams
• Thank him for supporting you in difficult times and encouraging you every step of the way
• Thank him for giving you sound advice on important decisions, like buying your first car
Finally, thank your dad for the great childhood memories, family holidays, funny stories, and dad jokes. Above all, tell him you love him for being there for you and for being himself.
25 songs to celebrate Father’s Day
Whether you want to dedicate a song to your father, thank your husband for being a great dad, or listen to a few tunes in your dad’s memory, here are some songs that are perfect for Father’s Day.
1. “Song for Dad” by Keith Urban
2. “Babyfather” by Sade
3. “Dad’s Old Number” by Cole Swindell
4. “Daddy” by Beyoncé
5. “Right By You (For Luna)” by John Legend
6. “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross
7. “Even Though I’m Leaving” by Luke Combs
8. “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens
9. “First Man” by Camila Cabello
10. “My Old Man” by Zac Brown Band
11. “Flashlight” by Chris Young
12. “God Made Daughters” by Brett Kissel
13. “I Learned From You” by Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus
14. “It’s For My Dad” by Nancy Sinatra
15. “My Boy” by Elvie Shane
16. “Lullabye” by Billy Joel
17. “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” by Darius Rucker
18. “My Father’s Eyes” by Eric Clapton
19. “New Day” by JAY-Z and Kanye West
20. “Papa Can You Hear Me?” by Barbra Streisand
21. “Song For My Father” by Sarah McLachlan
22. “These Three Words” by Stevie Wonder
23. “Anything Like Me” by Brad Paisley
24. “While He’s Still Around” by Florida Georgia Line
25. “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele
4 gift ideas to spoil dad
Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift? Here are a few suggestions that you can easily customize to your dad’s personality and interests.
1. Hobby accessory
Whether your dad likes painting, photographing birds, building furniture, camping in the great outdoors, playing golf, or reading in his favorite chair, gift him a practical or fun accessory to enhance his experience.
2. Food basket
If your dad’s a foodie, buy him an assortment of fine chocolates, artisanal cheeses, flavored popcorn, local brews, or gourmet products. You can stick to the classics or think outside the box and surprise him with something new.
Your dad deserves to relax and have a good time. Why not buy him tickets to a concert, tourist attraction, or sporting event? Gift him a pair of tickets so he can bring a buddy or plan an all-expenses-paid outing with him to enjoy some quality time together.
4. Gift card
Don’t settle for giving your dad a prepaid credit card. Make it personal and choose a gift card that shows how well you know him. For example, buy a gift card to his favorite restaurant, the hardware store, or a place he regularly visits, like a national park or museum.