The Past

Media created a false narrative of what Juneteenth is by painting it as a “celebration” to the end of slavery in the United States. In reality, it is the date 250,000 enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free on June 19, 1865 – 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation (signed Jan. 1, 1863) went into effect. Outdoor Afro is correcting this narrative by sharing this history nationwide. To honor this day, we encourage our community, partners, and regional networks to spend time in nature (whether a nearby beach, swimming pool, or public park for example). Outdoor Afro invites neighborhoods across the United States to join the network to reflect on and commemorate freedom, asking ourselves: What does freedom mean to me?


The Present

Network theme for this year: “Juneteenth 2023: Freedom to Access Water.” Our commemoration takes place Monday, June 19, for this federal holiday. It’s Outdoor Afro’s way of continuing to educate and course correct digital audiences and the general public about the true meaning of Juneteenth and our connections to land, wildlife, and water.

How you canget involved?

SIMPLY GO OUTSIDE. By doing so, you’re pledging to join us in nature. That’s it. Since our organization dedicates each year to strengthening our relationships with local waterways, discover a nearby water source in your neighborhood for only 2.5 hours – to reflect in honor of the 2.5 years that freedom delayed for 250,000 enslaved people of Galveston, Texas.

"We can't lose sight of what Juneteenth is truly about," said Outdoor Afro Founder and CEO Rue Mapp. "There's this false narrative of what the holiday symbolizes. Traditionally, America has recognized this day as a 'celebration' to the end of slavery in the United States - but that is not accurate."