Honor the Legacy of Juneteenth at These Ten Battlefield Parks and Historic Sites

The American Battlefield Trust notes these 10 events and activities at battlefield parks and historic sites in commemoration of the Juneteenth holiday

Colleen Cheslak-Poulton, (202) 367-1861 x7234

(Washington, D.C.) — In 2021, Juneteenth was established as the newest federal holiday, honoring the issuance of General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas and freeing all remaining enslaved individuals in the state at the conclusion of the Civil War. To mark the day, the American Battlefield Trust notes the following 10 events, programs and activities at national historic sites, in addition to others listed at online event calendars maintained by the Trust and the National Park Service. 

Now–August 11: “Sparking Freedom at Chatham," Chatham, Va. 
Travel to Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, where the Civil War saw some of its fiercest fighting, for an immersive walking tour about the resistance of the enslaved at Chatham Manor and plantation. Discover narratives of resistance and the different individuals who lived these stories out as you traverse the park. Learn more. 

June 15: “Journey to Freedom on the Bay,” Pensacola, Fla. 
Celebrate Juneteenth with a National Park Service guide at Gulf Islands National Seashore by taking a cruise to Fort Pickens. Explore a lesser-known aspect of Pensacola’s history — its ties to the Underground Railroad. Investigate the area and learn more about those who maintained and used the Underground Railroad to resist and escape bondage. Learn more. 

June 15: “Rhythms, Rhymes and Cultural Times,” St. Louis, Mo. 
Experience veteran performing artist Peggy Harris as she shares tales of resilient Black women in American history at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site this weekend. She’ll cover an African Royal’s recounting of the slave trade, Harriett Tubman’s journey to freedom, and more. Learn more. 

June 15: Juneteenth at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Manassas, Va. 
Join Manassas National Battlefield Park for the dedication of the blacksmith shop of Andrew Redman, an enslaved African American who witnessed both battles of Manassas and gained his freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. This family-friendly event will feature special talks, guided tours, and children’s activities at the hallowed site of the two major Civil War battles. Learn more.  

June 16: Juneteenth Gathering, Cambridge, Mass. 
Visit Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site this weekend for a commemorative Juneteenth event. Hear speeches by living descendants, music, and “Pop-Up Poetry.” And experience other family-friendly activities while enjoying refreshments. Learn more. 

June 19: “African American Servicemembers” and “On Freedom's Tenuous Edge,” Gettysburg, Pa. 
In the morning, join park rangers from Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site for a guided tour through the Gettysburg National Cemetery to hear stories of the African American soldiers buried here — who served in conflicts spanning the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I & II and Vietnam. Later, in the afternoon, take a guided tour to learn about the impact of the Battle of Gettysburg on the town’s African American community. Learn more. 

Fort Monroe
During the Civil War, Fort Monroe was the only Union controlled fortified base in the Upper South and it soon became known as “Freedom's Fortress” by African Americans who sought escape from bondage. Read more about Fort Monroe.

June 19: Juneteenth Luminaria, Hampton, Va. 
Visit Fort Monroe National Monument, known as “Freedom's Fortress,” for its Juneteenth Luminaria. To honor the legacy of Juneteenth, this luminary tribute invites participants to contemplate 246 years of African American heritage, from the arrival of the first enslaved African landing in English-speaking North America to the passage of the 13th amendment. Learn more. 

June 19: “Black Patriots of Guilford Courthouse,” Greensboro, N.C. 
This Juneteenth, join Guilford Courthouse National Military Park for guided battlefield tours discussing the service of Black Patriots who fought in the battle. African Americans fought in the ranks of the Continentals and the militia of both North Carolina and Virginia. And while several of these individuals began the war as freedmen, some fought in return for a promise of freedom from enslavement. Learn more.  

June 19: Fee-Free Day at Forts Sumter and Moultrie, Charleston, S.C. 
In honor of Juneteenth, Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park will be fee-free! The attack on Fort Sumter marked the official beginning of the American Civil War — a war that lasted four years, cost the lives of more than 620,000 Americans, and freed 3.9 million enslaved people from bondage. There will also be programming to learn about Fort Moultrie's role in these stories. Learn more. 

June 22: “The Path to Freedom,” Harpers Ferry, W.Va. 
Visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park for a ranger-led walk exploring locations where enslaved individuals struggled and persevered on their journeys toward freedom. The one-hour guided walk will feature narratives that provide personal and emotional insight on the pursuit of freedom and the challenges faced by the emancipated during and following the Civil War. Learn more. 

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 58,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at