Participate in social justice initiatives, enjoy live music, and listen to panel discussions, as well as support local Black-owned businesses, in honor of the holiday.

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juneteenth parade denver colorado
Credit: Kathryn Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

On June 19, 1865, the country's last enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas. It was a pivotal moment in American history, especially for the lives of African Americans. After centuries of longing for freedom, the celebrations that would follow this official order—involving meaningful conversations, poetry-reading and storytelling, and communal meals—would serve as the foundation for the Juneteenth holiday as we know it today. This year, honor the anniversary at one of these events.

Dallas, Texas

Explore the cultural impact of this day with Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Texas native Annette Gordon-Reed on June 15. She'll discuss her new book, On Juneteenth ($13.95, barnesandnoble.com), at the Dallas Museum of Art following remarks by 94-year-old activist Opal Lee. For decades, Ms. Lee has been devoted to preserving the history and timeline of the emancipation of Texas' enslaved people. You can join—in person or virtually via livestream—in a symbolic walk that starts at Evans Plaza in the historic Southside Terrell Heights, through what was once the Black Business District, and ends at the courthouse steps alongside local political leadership. It's hosted in the unifying spirit that, "None of us are free, until we are all free."

Denver, Colorado

For its Dream Big Awards showcase, the Juneteenth Music Festival's six-hour broadcast on June 18 spotlights eight social-justice leaders through roundtables and live entertainment. It will be hosted in the historic Five Points neighborhood of Denver—the only historic cultural district in the state of Colorado in which 80 percent of the properties are owned by African Americans.

Wilmington, Delaware

Empowering young women is a goal of the Miss Juneteenth Family Enrichment Program. Contestants take part in Black history and community-service workshops on topics such as self-image, modeling, public speaking, and essay writing, as well as Black history. On June 13 before a limited audience, answer timely questions in a pageant for the title—and a college scholarship.

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