Embracing the Legacy of Juneteenth: 7 Ideas to Help You Start Your Own Juneteenth Tradition

Embracing the Legacy of Juneteenth: 7 Ideas to Help You Start Your Own Juneteenth Tradition

Get ready to make this Juneteenth unforgettable as we come together to commemorate America's newest federal holiday! Falling on Monday, June 19th, and now in its second year as a federal holiday since President Joe Biden's declaration in 2022, this day holds profound historical significance. Dating back to 1865, Juneteenth symbolizes the long-awaited moment when news of freedom finally reached the enslaved workers in Galveston Bay, Texas, (you can learn more about the history of Juneteenth here). While Juneteenth has gained increased awareness in recent years, you might find yourself wondering how best to celebrate. As many of us enjoy a well-deserved day off from work, it's a great time to reflect on and pay tribute to the remarkable journey towards freedom. Today, HBCU Leggings is here to share inspiring ways to honor this Juneteenth holiday, embracing the spirit of unity, progress, and the enduring legacy of African American history. Let's dive into ideas that will ensure this Juneteenth is truly one to remember.

  • Organize a Juneteenth Potluck:
  • Food has a special way of bringing people together. Host a Juneteenth potluck and invite friends, family, and neighbors to join in the celebration. Encourage everyone to bring a dish that highlights African American culinary traditions or represents their own cultural heritage. Share the stories behind the recipes and foster a sense of community as you savor the diverse flavors and engage in conversations about what Juneteenth means to you. This year, as we celebrate the first Juneteenth as a federal holiday, the potluck becomes a symbol of unity and recognition of the resilience and cultural contributions of African Americans throughout history.

  • Explore African American Heritage Sites
  • Take a journey through history by visiting significant African American heritage sites or museums in your area. Research local landmarks, museums, or historical sites that highlight the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Apex Museum in Atlanta all have great things to offer. Engage in guided tours, absorb the stories, and gain a deeper appreciation for the resilience and contributions of the community. 

  • Juneteenth Dance Party: 
  • Get down with your friends and organize a lively Juneteenth dance party where you all can groove to the beats of African American music genres like jazz, blues, soul, or hip-hop. Create a playlist that encompasses and celebrates the rich cultural contributions fo Black people through the 20th and 21st centuries. Including everything from Ethel Waters to Beyoncé. Dancing together fosters joy, celebration, and connection.

  • Host Juneteenth Film Marathon:
  • Craving a night in? Host a Juneteenth film marathon, showcasing a curated selection of movies and documentaries that shed light on African American history, achievements, and stories. Revisit Hidden Figures, the inspiring film that tells the untold story of African American female mathematicians who played crucial roles in NASA's space missions during the 1960s. If you’re more interested in a documentary, try The Ground on Which I Stand, the first documentary about the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson who dedicated his life to writing plays about the lives of African Americans living in Pittsburg throughout the 20th century. Create a cozy viewing atmosphere, complete with popcorn and snacks, while immersing yourself in the powerful narratives that highlight the significance of Juneteenth.

  • Volunteer for Community Service: 
  • Make Juneteenth a day of service by volunteering for community initiatives that promote social justice and empowerment. Partner with local organizations working towards equality, education, or economic empowerment. Engage in activities such as preparing meals, community clean-ups, or building care kits for those in need. Your contribution will make a positive impact and honor the spirit of Juneteenth.

  • Get outside and active:
  • Engage in the spirit of Juneteenth by inviting your friends and family to join you in a day of exciting activities. Kick-start the festivities by sweating it out to a lively Juneteenth-themed playlist during a workout session. For a more adventurous experience, embark on a refreshing hike, allowing nature to serve as a backdrop to your commemoration. Alternatively, curate a day filled with Juneteenth-themed games and activities, ensuring everyone remains entertained and engaged.

    Infuse traditional games such as sack races, tug-of-war, or even a historical trivia contest focused on African American history into your event. By incorporating these interactive games, you not only create an enjoyable atmosphere but also provide an opportunity for everyone to deepen their understanding of the significance of Juneteenth. It's a chance to learn while having fun and fostering a greater appreciation for this important holiday.

  • Support Black-Owned Businesses: 
  • This time of year, there are Juneteenth sales and specials as far as the eye can see, but make a conscious effort to support Black-owned businesses during your Juneteenth celebrations. Shop at local Black-owned stores, dine at African American-owned restaurants, or purchase products from Black artisans. One of our personal favorites is the brand new Sycamore & Oak black owned shopping Center in Congress Heights Maryland and of course, HBCU Leggings for all your HBCU apparel dreams. By supporting Black Businesses, you contribute to economic empowerment and celebrate the achievements of Black entrepreneurs, embodying the spirit of Juneteenth. HBCU Leggings. 

    Starting a meaningful tradition around Juneteenth is an awesome way to honor its historical significance and keep its spirit alive by remembering where it all began. So, let's take the time to educate ourselves and others, dig into African American history, and connect with each other. Read some interesting books, binge-watch documentaries, and get curious about the ongoing fight for equality. You know what's even cooler? Check out the HBCU Leggings Blog, where we've been dropping HBCU facts for over a year. And, on Juneteenth only - everything in the shop ships free when you use discount code FREEATLAST. These are ways not only to show respect to Juneteenth's legacy, but they also make sure it stays relevant in shaping a more inclusive and fair society. So, let's dive into this tradition of learning and reflection, making a lasting impact on ourselves and future generations. Keep it real, y'all!

    Bibi Mama is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling, which inspired her. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and recently finished her MFA at the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.
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