From the townships of Maplewood and South Orange:
Juneteenth — also known as Freedom Day — has been a tradition in the United States for more than 150 years and marks the date, June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers freed the last remaining slaves in Texas, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation, two and half years after it was originally issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863.
In 2020, Governor Murphy declared Juneteenth an official New Jersey state holiday, and this year, the sister towns of Maplewood and South Orange will join together to collaborate and educate the community on Juneteenth and celebrate Black Pride and Black Excellence.
“For a second consecutive year Maplewood and South Orange will provide opportunities to educate, recognize and celebrate the rich history of Black Americans on Juneteenth. Several events and activities are scheduled for our community that highlight this day of liberation when Black Americans were given their freedom from Slavery and our country’s second Independence Day. Please join us!” — Former Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee
Juneteenth 2022 kicks off in South Orange with “Community Paint and Sip” on Friday, June 17 from 5PM – 7:30PM at Spiotta Park in South Orange.
On Saturday, June 18, Maplewood celebrates Black Pride and Excellence with “MAPSO Celebrates Juneteenth” at Memorial Park in Maplewood, NJ from 5-9pm. This outdoor celebration features spoken word poetry from local poets, readings by SOMA Justice, live music by Jane and Autumn Jones, food, fun, and fireworks! South Orange will also host “Downtown After Sundown” on this day at Spiotta Park from 6:30PM – 8:30PM.
On Sunday, June 19, The Durand Hedden House & Garden Association and the South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race will once again co-host Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom at Durand-Hedden House & Garden and the surrounding Grasmere Park. Activities include several well-known African-American historical reenactors, face painting, games, storytelling, and crafts will be offered for children. Attendees will enjoy outdoor musical performances. A local chef, artisans, and booksellers will offer items for purchase. Visitors can also view the exhibit, Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History, which provides historical context for Juneteenth and the history of enslaved people in New Jersey. Admission to the program as well as to the house and exhibit is free; donations welcome. Registration is required. The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC in South Orange will also host “Community Art Project Unveiling” on Sunday from 2PM – 4PM.
For more information on all these events, please visit: Juneteenth ’22 — Maplewood Arts & Culture (maplewoodartsandculture.org)