Juneteenth, June 19th was the day enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas learned they were free at the end of the Civil War in 1865 – two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In our time this day has become a general day of celebration of Black liberation.
Last year began new types of celebrations of the reclamation of the important marginalized California coastline history of African American beach culture sites in the cities of Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica for enjoyment, freedom struggle, and community and economic development that were sabotaged by White supremacist during the Jim Crow era. These sites have been repossessed as places of conscience, reflection, healing, and pilgrimage during a time when racial inequalities were laid bare by the long history of injustice that led to the death of several African Americans and other people of color.
In 2021, as was the case last year, these Juneteenth events being held at these coastal sites are showing solidarity with nationwide and global protests against systemic anti-black racism and gratuitous police brutality and murders which the Black Lives Matter Movement has forced prominently onto the national and world agenda as part of a reclamation of and commitment to the Black freedom struggle.
Come out and celebrate Black perseverance, resourcefulness, and resilience at the Belmar History + Art’s and Bruce’s Beach Juneteenth events on June 19. Learn more about Juneteenth and its legacy for today from the resources listed below.
Belmar History + Art | Santa Monica, California
Come out to the Wade in the Water: A Tiny Film Festival on Juneteenth, Saturday, June 19, 8 to 10 pm at Historic Belmar Park, and the Belmar History + Art exhibition at Fourth Street and Pico Boulevard.
Bring your blankets and beach chairs to watch the premiere of the film, “Belonging,” a Belmar History + Art site-specific film honoring early African Americans in Santa Monica. This in-person outdoor screening of short films celebrates Black culture and the water. From spiritual rituals to migration and sports, water is an integral part of how we rejuvenate and restore joy. Before the screening, enjoy food trucks and music, and the history panels (by Alison Rose Jefferson) and sculpture (April Banks) that make up the Belmar History + Art exhibition. At the close of the event, there will be a raffle of free prizes!
Learn more about Belmar History + Art here.
Bruce’s Beach | City of Manhattan Beach, California
Stop by the Justice for Bruce’s Beach Juneteenth Celebration, Saturday, June 19, 12 noon to 3 pm for cultural live bands and and more at Bruce’s Beach park site at Highland Avenue between Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh streets in the City of Manhattan Beach.
Learn more about the Bruce’s Beach reparations campaign here.
Arellano, Gustavo. “Before Juneteenth was widely known, here’s how Angelenos celebrated emancipation.” Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2020.
Boule, Jamelle. “Why Juneteenth Matters.” New York Times, June 18, 2020.
Cowan, Jill. “Celebrating Juneteenth Day in California.” New York Times, June 19, 2020.
Gordon-Reed, Annette. On Juneteenth. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation/W.W. Norton, 2021.