Juneteenth Bnia
Lighting up the fountains at the Buffalo Airport in honor of Juneteenth 2020

Friday June 19, 2020, marks the 155th anniversary of Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arriving in Galveston, Texas with news of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on September 22,1862.

Those who were enslaved and heard the news experienced a range of emotions from “pure shock to immediate jubilation” as the latter would be used in the naming of “Jubilee Day.”   Since then, decades later, the celebration coined Juneteenth has become a time for the African American community to come together, not only to remember the past to push forward into the future. Many festivities are held across the nation and here in Buffalo that include parades, festivals, food, races, and more.

Locally, the Juneteenth Festival of Buffalo, started in 1976 by B.U.I.L.D., a community-based organization.  The group blocked off part of Jefferson Avenue for a weekend celebration. Murals were painted and vendors set up booths to sell ethnic foods and wares; entertainment and festivity were abundant. The festival is now held in Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the intersection of Best Street and Fillmore Avenue. 

Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 emergency health crisis, most Juneteenth festivals across the country have been cancelled this year.  We want to recognize June 19 as a testament of progression among the African-American community and celebrate with memories from NFTA Metro's participation in Buffalo's 2019 Juneteenth festival.