Juneteenth: A Day of Celebration, Freedom and Family

By Hyacinth Rucker, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

There are certain parts of American and world history that are difficult to talk about but at the same time necessary so that we do not repeat past mistakes. The national holiday, Juneteenth, came to be after enslaved Black people in the south found out they were free. Juneteenth celebrates freedom and progress and is a time of reflection for the whole family. It also provides an opportunity to learn from our past and inform how we can work together as a community to build an equitable future for everyone.

For children, the concept of freedom and the difficult history of slavery can be challenging to understand. Parents are encouraged to share this important part of history in age appropriate ways and learn about Juneteenth as a family. 

The History of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. Although President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, not all slaves were immediately free. It was not until June 19, 1865, when around 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to share the good news. This day became known to the newly freed people as Juneteenth and has been celebrated ever since. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in 2021 making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

How to Celebrate Juneteenth

Here are five ways to learn more about Juneteenth:

  1. Read books about the holiday. Here are a few for you to consider, All Different Now, Juneteenth for Mazie and The Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure.
  2. Enjoy a Juneteenth activity with your little one. Consider printing off a word search puzzle sheet, a coloring sheet or a flag craft. There are a number of resources available online.
  3. Offer youth the opportunity to talk about the continued struggles Black Americans face in America today. How can they make a difference in the world? Encourage your child to write a poem like our national youth poet laureate Alyssa Gaines. They can also draw a picture, make a sign or write in a journal to tell about what positive changes they would like to see in the world and how they plan to help.
  4. Take a self-guided Juneteenth Freedom Walk Virtual Tour to learn about five historic sites and their importance to Juneteenth.
  5. Experience a Juneteenth celebration in your community. There are a number of Juneteenth celebrations in the Indianapolis area throughout the month of June.

Juneteenth Celebrations Around Indianapolis

June 2

  • The Truth of Freedom at Newfields

June 3

  • Juneteenth Jamboree & Miss Indy Juneteenth Pageant at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

June 5

  • The Legacy of Juneteenth at Indiana Landmarks

June 12

  • Indy Juneteenth College and Career Conference

June 13

  • Indy Juneteenth Volunteer and Trivia Night

June 14

  • Indy Juneteenth Culture Cooking at Indy Kitchen

June 15

  • Indy Juneteenth Amateur Boxing Tournament at Richard G. Lugar Plaza in Indianapolis

June 16

  • Juneteenth Foodways Festival at Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

June 17

  • Indy Juneteenth Parade and Celebration at Military Park
  • Juneteenth & Jazz Community Celebration at Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
  • Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Tarkington Park
  • Free Day! Juneteenth at Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites
  • Major Taylor Festival at Indiana State Museum
  • Diana M. Daniels at Indiana Council on Educating Students of Color
  • CBLC Juneteenth Bookfest at The Center of Black Literature and Culture
  • Juneteenth Mt. Carmel at Mt. Carmel Church

June 18

  • Free Day! Juneteenth at Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites
  • Indy Juneteenth Parade and Festival at Celebration Plaza

June 19

  • Indy Juneteenth Fireworks Show at Midwest Sports Complex in Indianapolis

June 25

  • International Marketplace Coalition at International Marketplace


To learn about more Juneteenth Celebrations happening across Central Indiana, please visit allevents.in/indianapolis/juneteenth.

Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

Related Articles



From our Sponsors