Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle exhibits the history, art, and culture of people of African descent and the Black experience in America. The exhibits and events include roots in slavery and the connections between the Pacific Northwest and people of African descent, as well as more recent immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, and other countries. NAAM is housed in the 1909 Colman School building in the heart of Seattle’s historic Central District overlooking Jimi Hendrix park. For Juneteenth, NAAM celebrates with ta variety of thoughtful events.
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What is Juneteenth?
On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that as of the following January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the Confederate states in the states shall be forever free. The emancipation would redefine the Civil War, turning it from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on ending slavery, and set a decisive course for how the nation would be reshaped after that historic conflict.
Two-and-a-half years later, on June 19, 1865, United States troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people would be freed. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks this date and honors the end to slavery in the United States. Juneteenth has been observed since 1866. Six months later, the Thirteenth Amendment officially made slavery illegal throughout the entire United States.
In 2021, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to establish June 19 as a federal holiday, Juneteenth National Independence Day.
NAAM Juneteenth 2023
NAAM brings the community together for a 3-Day Juneteenth Celebration focused on Black freedom and liberation with the following events:
Saturday, June 17. Youth Day. In partnership with the Seattle Children’s Theatre join NAAM for live storytelling, a soccer clinic, Book Giveaway, and game show. The Sistah Sci-Fi Book Vending Machine will launch this day. MUSEUM OPEN 10:00AM – 8:00PM.
Sunday, June 18. NAAM Film Festival. Visit the museum throughout the day to watch 5 films in Legacy Hall that celebrate Juneteenth, Black History, and Black Culture. MUSEUM OPEN 10:00AM – 5:00PM.
NAAM Film Festival films
- 13th by Ava Duvernay
- Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom by Stanley Nelson
- 1619 Project: Race by Nikole Hannah-Jones
- Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom by Rasool Berry
- Juneteenth: The Galveston Story by KHOU
Monday, June 19. Juneteenth Skate Party from 12-5PM, featuring local vendors, music, and food. In partnership with Roll Around Seatown, join NAAM for a Skate Party at Judkins Park. Skate rentals are complimentary. Enjoy a variety of other activities including two yoga classes and a reading with Dr. Arunga. MUSEUM OPEN 11:00AM – 3:00PM.
Registration for Juneteenth events is not required to attend. Feel free to register to get updates and event reminders: Juneteenth 2023 Celebration at NAAM Tickets, Sat, Jun 17, 2023 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite
NAAM museum hours: Thursday-Sunday 10am to 5pm. First Thursday open until 7pm. NAAM admission: $10/adult, $5/Youth (4-18), free for children 3 and younger. More info: NAAM | Juneteenth (naamnw.org)
Calendar of Juneteenth events
Listed below are upcoming events celebrating Juneteenth around the Puget Sound region.