As A Matter of Fact Newsletter

Special Edition: SOMSD Celebrates Juneteenth

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SOMSD Celebrates Juneteenth

Hello SOMSD Community,

On June 19th our community, along with the rest of the country, will be celebrating Juneteenth, a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is a time to reflect on the past and resolve for a better future.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln came 2 1⁄2 years earlier on January 1, 1863, many slave owners continued to hold their slaves captive after the announcement, so Juneteenth became a symbolic date representing African American freedom. So technically, from the Union’s perspective, the 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were already free—but none of them were aware of it.

JUNETEENTH OFFICIALLY BECAME A TEXAS STATE HOLIDAY IN 1980. Al Edwards, a freshman state representative, put forward the bill, H.B. 1016, making Texas the first state to grant this emancipation celebration. Since then, 48 other states and the District of Columbia have also commemorated or recognized the day.

Juneteenth celebrations in the United States typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with food, music, and dancing. While Juneteenth, originated in Galveston, Texas, it is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States, with increasing official recognition to recognize the end of slavery as well as to celebrate African American culture and achievements.

South Orange & Maplewood School District

Juneteenth: What You Need to Know | History

Juneteenth Resources / Events Around Town

Here are a list of resources and local events taking place to celebrate Juneteenth.


Children’s Books:


Book Talk Juneteenth in Stories: For All Ages

When: Tuesday, June 15 at 3 pm

Outside SO Library Garden

To join virtual events visit:

The Socially Relevant Art of March A. Gaston

June 17 7:00 pm


Coloring Juneteenth: A Collaborative Storytime

June 19 10:00 am, 11:15 am, 12:30 pm - by reservation

Jefferson Elementary School Yard 518 Ridgewood Rd. Maplewood


Juneteenth Pop-up Shop at the Y

Friday, June 18, 6 pm - 9 pm

Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 19, 6 pm - 9:30 pm

Flood’s Hill South Orange

Celebrate Freedom Day on Flood’s Hill with FREE live performances and music. Bring your own picnic, purchase BBQ and beverages from Gaslight restaurant.

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom at Durand-Hedden House

The Durand-Hedden House, in partnership with the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race, will host a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 19th. Come to see historical reenactors from the Civil War era, be inspired by a group of Black poets, and visit the exhibit on the History of Slavery in New Jersey. The event is free, but reservations are required.

Please use this link to make a reservation for a one-hour time slot between 11 am and 3:45 pm:

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