DES MOINES, Iowa — Two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves in Galveston, Texas learned the Civil War was over and they were free.
That day was June 19, 1865.
The annual celebration later became known as Juneteenth, which is now celebrated all over the United States.
It's been 156 years since then, and Americans are still learning what this day means for Black Americans and the entire nation.
Several organizations in central Iowa are hosting events this week to commemorate the occasion, from art exhibits to basketball tournaments.
Iowa Juneteenth Observance
Events with the Iowa Juneteenth Observance have already started in the metro, but they will continue through Saturday.
Wednesday is dubbed as "Walk It Out Wednesday" and urges community members to walk with their community or meet the organization at the Capitol Grounds by 6 p.m.
Below is an embed from Iowa Juneteenth Observance detailing all of the events for the rest of the week. More information can also be found on their website by clicking/tapping here.
The entire celebration is free, but Iowa Juneteenth Observance accepts donations to keep it free for everyone. You can donate to the organization by either CashApp ($IAJuneteenth) or Venmo (@IAJuneteenth90)
Neighbor's Day Juneteenth Celebration at Western Gateway Park
The weeklong celebration culminates Saturday with live entertainment, food, and vendors taking over the park from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The event is for all ages, and vendors will include Manifestival and Urban City Magazine.
Juneteenth 2021 Black Business Expo
Entrepreneurs will have the chance to win $10,000 in capitol investment, a $2,000 advertising package and more.
The event is open to the public general admission tickets are free. Those tickets, as well as paid vendor reservations and workshop passes are available here.
DSM BLM basketball tournament
Middle and high school students and adults can sign up solo or with a team here.
Ankeny Juneteenth celebration
The Town Square at The District at Prairie Trail will have dance, art, food and music for a community celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Freedom Day Art Show at Freedom Blend Coffee
Juneteenth Sip n' Paint at Bottle & Bottega
Even if you're not artistically inclined, the event includes games, giveaways and music to celebrate the holiday and the studio's 4th anniversary.
African American Museum of Iowa Juneteenth and Emancipation
The African American Museum of Iowa will host virtual events Thursday and Friday followed by a festival at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids on Saturday. The series wraps up Sunday with a livestreamed panel answering the question "does the color of my skin really matter?"
Juneteenth Comedy Jam at Teehee's Comedy Club
Teehee's Comedy Club has the laughs Friday and Saturday with local and regional African American comedians. Get your tickets and see the breakdown of the three shows here.
Juneteenth Black Art Exhibit
The event is free and will include exhibits by local artists, music, food and drinks.
Artists and vendors can register here.
Did we miss an event? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or text us at 515-457-1026.