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Juneteenth is often cited as African-American Independence Day, a special day of recognition by many municipalities and states. The observances commemorate June 19, 1865, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was finally enforced in Texas, the last of the seceding states to be occupied by the federal army. At the time, an estimated 250,000 persons were still enslaved in Texas, despite the signing of the proclamation more than two years earlier.


2024 Event Descriptions


Arts Alive Festival Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 15, 2024, 9:45 am

Join us under the tent on the Falmouth Library lawn








Juneteenth Celebration                            

Highfield Hall & Gardens

Wednesday June 19, 2024, 10:30 am - 1:00 pm


Juneteenth Community Celebration                            

Saint Barnabas's Church - Great Hall

Wednesday June 19, 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Movie screening

Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 7:00 pm  

The MBL Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Woods Hole Public Library are partnering to present a Juneteenth Movie Night on Wednesday June 19th at 7:00 pm at the Woods Hole Public Library. The event will be free and open to the public.

Visit the WHPL's website for more info about this event.

The film screening will be followed by Juneteenth trivia and prizes.

In person:
Woods Hole Public Library
581 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole, MA 02543


Annual Lecture: Shirley Malcom

Friday, June 21, 2024, 8:00 pm 

This year our annual lecture entitled “Finding a Place in Science: Life Sciences and Lived Experiences” will be presented by guest speaker Shirley Malcom from AAAS SEA Change.

No registration is required for in-person attendance. Register here for the virtual event.

In person:
Clapp Auditorium
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543


Lecture Abstract:
Many people from communities of color interested in STEMM gravitate toward life sciences because of the opportunities to answer questions that spring from their lives or that address issues experienced in their communities. This presents both challenges and opportunities: Challenges to the discipline when the current framing of research questions does not incorporate the concerns and perspectives of these communities and opportunities within the disciplines when they do. Drawing from historical and contemporaneous examples, the lecture will explore the inexorable link between equity and excellence in STEMM and why we cannot back away from a commitment to inclusion.


Shirley Malcom  is Senior Advisor to the CEO and Director of the SEA Change initiative at American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She works to improve the quality and increase access to education and careers in STEM fields as well as to enhance public science literacy. Dr. Malcom is a trustee of Caltech, a regent of Morgan State University, and a member of the SUNY Research Council. She is a former member of the National Science Board, the policymaking body of the National Science Foundation, and served on President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. Malcom, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received her PhD in ecology from Pennsylvania State University, a master's degree in zoology from UCLA, and a bachelor’s degree with distinction in zoology from the University of Washington. She also holds 16 honorary degrees. Malcom serves on the boards of the Heinz Endowments, Public Agenda, the National Math-Science Initiative, and Digital Promise. Internationally, she is a leader in efforts to improve access of girls and women to education and careers in science and engineering and to increase the use of Science and Technology (S&T) to empower women and address problems they face in their daily lives, serving as co-chair of the Gender Advisory Board of the UN Commission on S&T for Development and Gender InSITE, a global campaign to deploy S&T to help improve the lives and status of girls and women. In 2003, Dr. Malcom received the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Science, the highest award given by the Academy.

Juneteenth holiday

On Thursday, June 17, 2021 President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making Juneteenth (June 19) an official federal holiday.


Additional Juneteenth history & educational resources

Lesser known history of slavery in the North:

The Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641 was the first colony in North America to codify the system of slavery which was to be the law in Massachusetts. Without the large plantations of the south, many families only held two or three slaves. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783. Nearby Rhode Island (a colonial era producer of rum) was a keystone in the triangle slave trade between Africa, the West Indies, and the British colonies.   People not Property, Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North, is an educational website produced by Historic Hudson Valley in New York State, which explains the blunt story of what slavery is and what it means to be a slave.


The African-American Heritage Trail on Matha's Vineyard:

The African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard is a community run organization which has developed over 30 historic sites on the Island which honor the formerly forgotten contributions of citizens of African descent, who have had a major impact upon the development and history of Martha’s Vineyard. Learn more about the Heritage Trail through this Martha’s Vineyard NAACP interview with founders Elaine Cawley Weintraub and Carrie Camillo Tankard. Recently, the African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard dedicated the 32nd site on the Heritage Trail, The Nameless Trail, to the memory of the slaves who lived and worked on Martha’s Vineyard as well as those slaves who travelled through this island, which is located just 4 miles from Woods Hole. Students from the Martha’s Vineyard Charter School researched and created The Nameless Trail. The website of the African-American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard has further information about the trail and educational tours.


More ways to celebrate:

Visit the official "How to Celebrate" page for more ideas