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  • Nichole Willey

Honoring Juneteenth: A Historic Step Toward Equality

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th, commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved individuals in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed of their liberation, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln.

While Juneteenth celebrates freedom, it also highlights the delayed emancipation experienced by many enslaved people.

Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a pivotal moment in American history, marking a step toward equality. This event is celebrated both for its impact on countless lives and for its enduring promise for the future.

Honoring Juneteenth: A Historic Step Toward Equality

The Significance of Juneteenth

Initially celebrated as a federal holiday by only three states (Texas, Louisiana, and California), Juneteenth is now recognized by over half of the U.S. states as a second Independence Day and Emancipation Day.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day, serves as a powerful reminder that much work remains in dismantling the systemic barriers faced by Black communities in the United States. Oppression is not just a relic of the past—it continues to exist in the systems and structures of our society and in the actions of those who seek to maintain them.

Break the Misconceptions

Juneteenth is often misunderstood. It does not mark the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of slaves in the Confederate states, nor does it commemorate the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865, which abolished slavery in the Constitution.

The Meaning of the Flag

The Juneteenth flag represents history and freedom. Designed in 1997 by activist Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF), with the help of several collaborators and Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf, the flag features a "new star" on the horizon symbolizing new freedom and a new people. Its red, white, and blue colors signify that the American slaves and their descendants are all Americans.

Juneteenth on Cape Cod: Celebrating Emancipation with Music and Culture

Cape Cod's Juneteenth celebrations are a vibrant blend of music, food, and history, commemorating the emancipation of the last enslaved people in the United States. As the community gathers to honor this pivotal moment in American history, the festivities offer a rich tapestry of cultural expression and educational opportunities. Join us as we explore the significance of Juneteenth and how Cape Cod marks this day with joyful celebrations and reflective remembrance.

Bourne Celebration

Date and Time: Juneteenth, Wednesday, June 19, 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Aptuxcet Trading Post Museum, Bourne


  • Family Picnic: Enjoy a family-style cookout on the Aptucxet grounds with grilled hot dogs, Italian sausages, vegan sausages, beverages, and dessert. Bring blankets, chairs, and a side dish or dessert to share.

  • Frederick Douglass Speech: Volunteers will read Douglass's 1852 speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

  • Community Discussion: Engage in a discussion about Douglass’s speech and its significance.

  • Children’s Activities: Participate in a story walk, storybook corner, and craft activities.

Event Organizers: Bourne Historical Society, in partnership with the Bourne-Wareham Race Amity Group and the Jonathan Bourne Public Library, funded by the Mass Cultural Council.

Significance: This event commemorates Juneteenth and honors Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, influential abolitionist, and celebrated public speaker.

Barnstable Celebration

Date and Time: June 19, 1 to 1:30 p.m.

Location: Outside courtyard of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, 397 Main St., Barnstable


History and Significance of Juneteenth: Learn about Juneteenth’s history, including contributions of Black Civil War heroes and heroines with ties to Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

Ceremony and Flag-Raising: Includes reading excerpts from the Emancipation Proclamation, narrated by civil rights leader Jeanne Morrison, ending with a flag-raising.

Participants: Barnstable town officials, legislative and community leaders, members of the Cape Cod Branch NAACP, Amplify POC, Inc., and the Kennedy Museum.

Falmouth Celebrations

Pre-Juneteenth Event:

Arts Alive Festival Juneteenth Celebration: June 15, starting at 10:45 a.m., Falmouth Library lawn.

 Activities: Drumming, food, and a proclamation by state representative David T. Vieira, followed by music from the Juneteenth Celebration Chorus.

Juneteenth Day Events:

1. Highfield Hall & Gardens Celebration:

  • Date and Time: June 19, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Location: 56 Highfield Drive, Falmouth

  • Activities: Music, activities, trails in Beebe Woods, free mansion admission. Guests are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for the Falmouth Service Center.

2. Saint Barnabas’s Church Community Celebration:

  • Date and Time: June 19, 1 to 3 p.m.

  • Location: 91 Main St., Falmouth Village Green

  • Activities: Juneteenth film clips, panel discussion, soul food samples, music, and kids’ activities. Local vendors will sell goods.

3. Woods Hole Public Library Screening:

  • Date and Time: June 19, 7 to 9 p.m.

  • Location: 581 Woods Hole Road

  • Activity: Free screening of the 2023 version of "The Color Purple," followed by Juneteenth trivia and prizes.

Cape Cod ~ A Vacationer’s Paradise

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Our user-friendly website,, allows you to effortlessly explore various options, each accompanied by detailed descriptions and high-quality images. Find the property that speaks to you and fits your vacation vision seamlessly, and book instantly right online.


Nichole Willey & Team

Call/ Text Nichole @ 508.737.3567

Call/ Text Evelynn @ 774.521.5899


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