Black History



Date: Saturday, June 15

Time: 12 pm – 5 pm

Location: Watkins Regional Park

History of Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the emancipation of slavery in Texas and the United States. Juneteenth, an amalgamation of June and nineteenth, originated in Galveston, Texas as a response to General Gordon Granger’s pronouncement on June 19, 1865 that “…all slaves are free.”


This announcement was necessary because African Americans in the state did not know that slavery had ended two years earlier. On June 7, 1979, more than a century after the abolition of slavery in Texas, Juneteenth became an official state holiday by legislative mandate.


While the term Juneteenth, specifically refers to the emancipation of African American slaves in Texas, ‘Emancipation Days’ or ‘Freedom Days,’ are celebrated in multiple states throughout the country. Maryland Emancipation Day traces back to November 1, 1864, when the state adopted a new constitution, which abolished slavery.


Juneteenth can be celebrated in a variety of ways, however, celebrations generally focus on family and community. Traditionally, African Americans celebrate Juneteenth by having parades, cookouts, fish-frys, church services, and family reunions. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of remembrance in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Although Maryland is not one of the 42 states, since 2008, the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has held an annual Juneteenth celebration in Prince George’s County, which showcases African-American history, genealogy, music, dance and activities for adults and children.

Black History Month

From performances to history lessons to festivals, there are plenty of exciting M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation events and activities planned throughout Prince George’s County as we commemorate Black History Month. 

Black History Month 2024 Exhibition 

Taking Center Stage: Black Musicians and Prince George’s County Music Venues from the Chitlin’ Circuit to the Present 

Exhibition Dates: Saturday, January 27 – Sunday, March 31, 2024 

Opening Reception: Sunday, February 4, 2024, 2 – 5 PM (RSVP at  

All ages, FREE 

Harmony Hall Arts Center 

During the era of Jim Crow in the United States, black musicians were regularly excluded from performance venues that catered to white audiences. Thus, the “chitlin’ circuit” was born: a network of urban and rural performance venues of various types and sizes, including some owned and operated by African Americans, that provided a critical space for black musicians and other performers to share and hone their talents. With the breakdown of racial barriers and ascendancy of black popular musicians in the 1960s, the number of musical venues open to black musicians expanded. Taking Center Stage explores the history of these musical venues in Prince George’s County, detailing the changing musical landscape for black musicians in the county from the twentieth to twenty-first centuries. 

This exhibition is curated by the M-NCPPC Black History Program. For additional information, email or call 240-264-3415. 

To RSVP for the opening reception, email

Black History Month Poster 2024

Black History 365

Black History is more than just the month of February! The M-NCPPC Black History Program promotes and preserves black history throughout the year with a variety of programs and initiatives. For more information and to join our listserv, email