As SFist has written about before, Juneteenth has become an important holiday in California much as it has been for over a century in Texas. And to mark the day during this time of national conversation — and protest — over racial and social justice, there are multiple events happening around the Bay Area both on- and offline.
The holiday, which commemorates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas and told some 250,000 slaves that they were free — two and a half years years late, after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, because Texas had spent that entire time ignoring federal law.
As historian Susan Anderson, who is the director of public programs fo the California Historical Society, explains to the New York Times, the holiday began in Texas as a counter-protest among the black community to the growing "Lost Cause" movement the glorification of the Confederacy that happened in the decades after the Civil War. "What they did was take a date that was really ignored and flouted by the pro-Confederacy whites in Texas and made it a cause to celebrate liberation," Anderson says.
The history of California is one that includes some not-often-talked-about legacies of slavery, including many freed and escaped slaves who sought to have their freedom documented in courts because slaveowners who migrated here continued to treat them as property — even though California did not officially recognize slavery as legal when it became a state.
As Anderson tells the Times, "There are [historic] newspaper ads in San Francisco and Sacramento advertising to sell people, newspaper ads looking for people who ran away. Probably in every county in California, courts hold manumission papers that were issued to people who received their liberty."
And the migration of black people out of the south, specifically out of Texas, meant that many observers of Juneteenth celebrations brought those with them when they moved to Oakland, Los Angeles, and elsewhere in California — though it took until 2003 for California to officially recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.
Below, check out what's happening around the Bay Area this weekend, and anytime you can check out KQED's excellent 1963 documentary Take This Hammer, in which filmmakers followed James Baldwin around San Francisco as he talked with young black people about their experiences.
Friday, June 19
12 noon: March for Peace is hosting a demonstration at the Ferry Building in SF.
A Juneteenth Festival is happening at Pioneer Park in Santa Rosa.
12:30 p.m.: Black bikers have organized a Juneteenth Bike 4 Justice rally at Bobby Hutton Park at 18th and Adeline in Oakland that goes until 4 p.m.
There's also a Kicking for Freedom 3-mile skate planned, starting at the Ferry Building.
1 p.m.: There's a Juneteenth rally planned at SF City Hall.
A big Juneteenth celebration kicks off the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland with a march planned around Lake Merritt
Another rally is happening at San Jose City Hall.
3 p.m.: A March for Freedom hosted by the South Bay Black Coalition is happening at Santa Clara University (2605 Alameda parking lot)
There is also a rally at Rocky Graham Park in Sausalito, and there's a Juneteenth Celebration happening at San Jose City Hall starting at 3.
4 p.m.: A youth march is planned in Oakland starting at De Fremery Park in West Oakland.
California nurses are having a Juneteenth rally at Kaiser Oakland, 3600 Broadway
Composer and bassist Marcus Shelby is doing an online Zoom presentation of live music, readings and poetry, delving into the history of Juneteenth.
And there's a Juneteenth Celebration and Fundraiser at Lake Merritt Amphitheater, and there's a rally outside Livermore City Hall.
5 p.m.: A march is planned in Berkeley starting at the intersection of University Avenue and Oxford Street.
And there's a dedication ceremony at the Alameda County Courthouse for the Black Panther Party Legacy Monument.
7 p.m.: Thirty Bay Area theater companies have joined forces to stream Terrell Durham’s play, Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids. It's described as "a timely meditation on police killings of Black people and the Black Lives Matter movement." Details here.
Saturday, June 20
9 a.m.: A car caravan protest is happening in Oakland from Edes Avenue to Lake Merritt.
10 a.m.: A march kicks off from Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland.
There is also a car caravan protest to San Quentin starting at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.
12 p.m.: March for Peace is hosting another march starting at the Ferry Building.
1 p.m.: A 24-hour protest kicks off at Doyle Park in Santa Rosa
2 p.m.: A "Skate for Floyd" event is scheduled to kick off on Twin Peaks.
There's also a march to MacArthur BART Station from the Berkeley Police Department.
6 p.m.: Black Queer Women and Femmes is hosting a rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Sunday, June 21
2 p.m.: Westside Neighbors is hosting a rally/march starting at 19th and Holloway in San Francisco.
7:30 p.m.: There's a George Floyd Memorial sunset stroll or paddle-out at Ocean Beach at Vicente