With Black Lives Matter protests going on nationwide for more than three weeks since the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Juneteenth is taking on added significance this year. And South Jersey is offering more events — both online and in person — to mark the day.

Juneteenth — June 19 — is the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. On that date in 1865, Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the Civil War had ended and that slaves were now free.

The Stories of Atlantic City project, which started in 2018 and includes The Press of Atlantic City among its partners, will host its first Juneteenth event Thursday, a Virtual Community Story Circle during which participants will share stories about independence. The Zoom session is scheduled to run 6:30 to 8 p.m. with opening words by Kameika Murphy, assistant professor of Atlantic history at Stockton University.

“I’m hoping it will be an educational moment as well as a moment of unity,” said Noble, the part-time project manager for Stories of Atlantic City.

NAACP Atlantic City Branch hosts a Black Lives Matter car caravan demonstration by Atlantic City youth, titled "We Are Done Dying!," at noon Friday starting at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School Complex, 1700 Marmora Ave.

The more celebratory side of Juneteenth can be experienced with face painting, music and food from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Oscar E. McClinton Waterfront Park on New Hampshire Avenue in Atlantic City.

The third annual Juneteenth Cookout, The Ubuntu Way, is for the people of the community to come together and celebrate freedom and unity, said Nefertiti Hathaway, founder of Ubuntu the Community, a nonprofit based in Atlantic City.

Marque Cherry, of Egg Harbor Township, has organized a book and snacks giveaway for Juneteenth from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Gainer's Flower Shop, 425 S. Main St., Pleasantville.

Stockton’s chapter of the NAACP has organized a Juneteenth March for Justice. A flyer for the event says to bring peace, water, masks, signs and a voice. The march starts at 1 p.m. Friday on the main Stockton campus in Galloway Township.

Murphy Writing at Stockton is also hosting a Juneteenth event.

Yusef Komunyakaa will do a reading at 7 p.m. Friday via Zoom. Komunyakaa is the first African American man to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His books include “Taboo,” “Warhorses,” “The Emperor of Water Clocks,” “Neon Vernacular,” for which he received the 1994 Pulitzer, and many others.

Community members, Stockton students, alumni, faculty and staff can participate.

The Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May will sponsor a Walk for Social Justice at 3 p.m. Friday at Rotary Park, Lyle Lane between Decatur and Jackson streets.

At the same time as the walk, a virtual opening will be held of the new Harriet Tubman Museum at 632 Lafayette St.

“Museum organizers and special guests will address supporters of the museum in recognition of Juneteenth, Freedom Day, Harriet Tubman’s heroic abolitionist efforts and many other activists who have fought and continued to fight for social justice and equality,” said Cynthia Mullock, executive director of the museum.

For the past year, the plan was to have the Tubman museum open to the public on Juneteenth, but “we didn’t expect a pandemic,” Mullock said.

The museum is still being finished, but those who tune in to the virtual opening will see some of the exhibits and materials, Mullock said. It has been documented that Tubman was in Cape May during 1852, she said.

After organizing anti-police violence rallies earlier this month, the Cape May County NAACP decided to sponsor its first Juneteenth Festival in partnership with Middle Township from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Martin Luther King Center in Whitesboro, 207 W. Main St., Vice President Quanette Vasser-McNeal said.

The Juneteenth Festival will offer music, food, games and speakers.

The Cape May County NAACP has adopted the slogan “Enough is enough: See us, hear us, understand us,” Vasser-McNeal said.

T-shirts will be available at the event for sale with that saying on them.

Holding a virtual event this year is the Epoch Creation women’s group, which has been celebrating Juneteenth for 30 years, said Iola Brazelton, the group’s president.

The community is invited to visit the group’s Facebook page at noon Friday to listen to guest speakers including the Rev. Gary Melton, Pleasantville Council President Judy Ward and Brazelton. This year’s theme is “African Americans and the Vote.”

Contact: 609-272-7202



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