History of Juneteenth
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Attempts to explain this two-and-a-half-year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.
Juneteenth in Chesterfield County
Today, many states recognize Juneteenth and activists are campaigning for the United States Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. In celebration of Juneteenth, Chesterfield County collaborates with various partners to commemorate and recognize this important day. View what Juneteenth means to some Chesterfield County residents.
Juneteenth 2022 Events
For questions about Chesterfield Juneteenth events, contact the Juneteenth committee.
Saturday, June 11
Canceled Due to Weather: Fight for Freedom: The 116th at Dutch Gap
Learn about the hundreds of United States Colored Troops (USCT) soldiers who not only dug the Dutch Gap Canal under General Butler’s supervision, but were also present in Galveston, Texas when General Granger sent word to enslaved communities and their owners that they would be free forever. Learn more on the Henricus website.
Who's Behind the Name: The Story of Maggie Lena Walker
The name of Maggie Lena Walker (1864-1934) seems to pop up everywhere these days. She has been memorialized in bronze for not one but two statues in Richmond, VA in the last five years. Schools, community organizations, streets, banners and even a national historic site sport her name or image. Yet, not many people are truly familiar with her full story. Spend some time with Ajena Cason Rogers, supervisory park ranger at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. Learn the fascinating life story and achievements of one of Richmond's most famous, yet obscure, historical figures.
Registration: Free; registration required. To reserve a seat, call Historic Sites Manager Bryan Truzzie at 804-751-4946.
Time: Noon - 1 p.m.
Location: Castlewood - 10201 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832
Join us for the Juneteenth Jubilee emancipation celebration! The culture queen will use music, movement and storytelling to teach about this historic holiday where African Americans who were enslaved received news that they were finally free. For all ages.
Registration: Free; registration required. Registration begins Saturday, May 28.
Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
Location: Meadowdale Library - 4301 Meadowdale Boulevard, North Chesterfield, VA 23234
Wednesday, June 15
A Celebration of Jazz with Victor Haskins & SKEIN
Join us at the Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education for an evening devoted to jazz. Victor Haskins & SKEIN will share some of Victor’s original music, as well as some of those tunes we all know and love.
Registration: Tickets required; pay what you can.
Time: 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Location: Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education - 11810 Centre Street, Chester, VA 23831
Friday, June 17
Juneteenth Community Breakfast
Motivational speaker Charles MacLeod, Ed.D. will share the importance and impact of Juneteenth.
Registration: By invitation only.
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Saturday, June 18
YMCA Juneteenth Zumba-thon
Join the Chester Family YMCA for a Juneteenth Zumba-thon. Instructors will have you dancing your way to fitness. This is event is free to the community. For more information or questions, contact 804-748-9622.
Registration: Free; if interested in attending, contact 804-748-9622.
Time: 10:30 a.m. - Noon
Location: Chester YMCA - 3011 W. Hundred Road, Chester, VA 23831
Open House at Pleasant View School
Join members of Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia’s African American History Committee for a day of Pleasant View School history, including free tours. Parking is available onsite. For details, call 804-751-4946.
Registration: Free tours; no registration required.
Time: Noon - 2 p.m.
Location: Pleasant View School - 18431 River Road, Chesterfield, VA 23838
Built in 1930, Pleasant View School was designated a Chesterfield County Historic Landmark in April 2017 in recognition of its significance as an authentic representation of early twentieth century education in the county. This one-room schoolhouse is Chesterfield’s best remaining example of African-American education in the segregated era. Pleasant View served as an elementary school until 1947. The Pleasant View Community Association maintained the building and used it as a community center from 1947 until 1998. Now owned by Chesterfield Parks and Recreation, this treasured landmark stands with its original exterior, hardwood floors and beaded-board walls and ceilings. Original desks, blackboard and other items from the past will be on display.
Sunday, June 19
Juneteenth in the Park
Join us for a time of celebration as we learn more about Juneteenth and the experience of African-American Virginians at Pocahontas State Park and within the Virginia State Parks system generally. We will have food trucks, entertainment, vendors, self-guided activities that can be completed at your own pace and much more.
Registration: No registration required, but standard parking and admission fees apply. Learn more on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation webpage.
Time: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: Pocahontas State Park - 10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832