Friday is Juneteenth. Celebrate!

Everyone knows when Valentine’s Day is although no one really knows why it is celebrated or why it’s called Valentine’s Day.

Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday, supposedly celebrates the harvest and a probably apocryphal feast shared by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people of New England, many of whom were later enslaved by whites.

But for a long time Juneteenth was familiar mainly to those who live near black/African American communities. In Texas. It’s the day, June 19, the news reached the slaves in Galveston, Texas that they were free—two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. (ed. note: Thanks to a reader for pointing out my earlier mistake!)

The day that slavery really ended in the United States.

It’s crazy that we celebrate so many trivial days when this one goes unrecognized by the federal government. Not crazy: racist.

But over the past few years, because of Black Lives Matter, because after 400 years, Americans are becoming aware of their own racism, Juneteenth has become a celebration in many places it’s been overlooked before.

Here’s what will be happening in Utah, where thousands gathered in various places for Jubilation Day last year. Because of Covid-19, much of the recognition is planned to be virtual.

Juneteenth Day Flag Raising (Friday, 11:30 a.m.), Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 S. State St. in Salt Lake City.

The State of Black Utah Town Hall (Friday, June 19, 6:30-8 p.m.) on Zoom

For events in Ogden and Logan, go to

Please share any Juneteenth celebrations with us.

Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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