Juneteenth Virtual Fun Depot

Hello! I’m John William, a.k.a. JW

Welcome, welcome, welcome to JW’s Juneteenth Fun Depot, a virtual celebration of freedom. I’m JW., self-appointed honorary member of the United States Colored Troops 25th Army Corps – the troops who docked in Galveston on June 19, 1865.

This festival was created for the benefit of Juneteenth revelers worldwide who may not have a live celebration close by, and for folks with a live celebration close by, but choose to not break camp to attend it.

Here, we’re celebrating two holidays: Texas Emancipation Day and Juneteenth National Freedom Day. Some folks think the two are one, but they’re so-o-o-o wrong.

Click Here to Learn the Difference

Texas Emancipation Day is a state holiday that commemorates the beginning of militarily enforced universal emancipation in Texas.

Juneteenth National Independence Day is a symbolic date that celebrates emancipation nationwide no matter when, where, or how it occurred.

Emancipation Day exists in many locations. Examples: Florida celebrates Emancipation Day on May 20th. Parts of South Carolina celebrate Emancipation Day on January 1st. Washington D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16th, etc. All of those locations celebrate national emancipation on June 19th.

Texas is the only state that officially celebrates local and national emancipation on the same day. That happenstance feeds the popular but inaccurate myth that the two holidays have identical purposes. If that was true, their formation legislation would be identical or at least similar. It is not.

Now that that’s settled, let the fun begin! Below are descriptions of four events in development. Please review guidelines of each event to determine if you’re eligible to participate. Otherwise, find your way back here on June 17th to enjoy the celebration as an observer.

Need a reminder? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
Happy Junete

#1. Juneteenth Oratory Expo

Enjoy a compilation of inspiring speeches by gifted young orators.

Calling all budding Soapboxers. Juneteenth University, Inc. is seeking eight incredibly talented high school orators to participate in our first Juneteenth Oratory Expo. The Expo is a platform for upcoming young pontificators to flaunt their skills and share opinions on “The Contemporary State of Freedom”.

This virtual discussion is not a contest. Rather, it is a modern version of Juneteenth’s original celebrations. Early celebrations were not mere parties and parades. Merriment happened, but primarily the celebrations were assemblies where a variety of speakers offered informative and inspirational messages.

Any teenager currently enrolled in high school is eligible to participate but must be registered by an authorized representative of his/her school or sponsoring civic organization. This is not a contest. There is no cost for inclusion. An appreciation plaque will be mailed to each speaker.

To be included, organizations/schools must 1) reserve a spot for their speaker (complete the registration form below); and 2) record and submit a video of the designated orator presenting his/her speech. Only eight videos will be accepted. The accepted speeches will be combined by Juneteenth University and released for public review on June 17th. For complete details, please click on the Rules button above.

Participating in the Expo is a great way to celebrate Juneteenth; an excellent platform for emerging opinions; and a fantastic way to showcase your school or community organization.

Oratory Expo Speaker Registration Form

CLICK HERE to register a speaker.

Type this confirmation message in the space below: “By submitting this form, all person’s named affirm our agreement with the rules, and confirm the orator’s eligibility.” IMPORTANT: Failure to provide this statement automatically disqualifies the orator.

#2. Juneteenth Virtual Step Show

Experience an amazing Texas-size step jubilee featuring teams representing all regions of the Lone Star State – the land where Juneteenth began.

Step Team Registration Form

CLICK HERE to register a step team.

“Stepping is!”

Nothing else need be said. Anyone requiring more details, isn’t eligible to appear on this magnificent stage. Move along.

If your step team is strong, creative, and “wow-worthy”, click the Participation Guidelines button above, get the 4-1-1, then reserve a spot to show what ya got. This is not a contest, plus, participation is free. Interested? Great! but hurry. Participation space is limited.

#3. Juneteenth Cyber March-A-Thon

Enjoy Magnanimous Marching Drills!

Love marching? Celebrate Juneteenth with spectacle, style and rhythm. Introducing the world’s first (and probably the only) Juneteenth Virtual Marching Contest.

Use any miniature marching software to create a Juneteenth themed marching show. Compete with drill makers statewide, nationwide, maybe even worldwide. Collect a trophy and bragging rights … if you have the chops. Click the rules button for details. When you’re ready, come back and submit your entry.

ALERT: This contest is restricted to marching drill creators who love having fun, only!

Help decide who deserves a fantabulous trophy!

Juneteenth Cyber Marching Entry Form

CLICK HERE to submit a contest entry.

#4. Juneteenth Brain Brawl

This merciless mind melee will settle once and for all, who in your world knows the most stuff.

Oh-h-h! So, you think you know EVERYTHING about Juneteenth. You know ALL the facts, right? Yeah. Sure you do, but can you prove it? This four-level trivia game is based on the popular Jeopardy game. All questions are about emancipation and Juneteenth. Can you handle that? Take another peek at the sample game boards above. 30,000 points are up for grab. How many can you get? Maybe 20? Ha!


Click each statement to reveal reply.

Juneteenth is often called the oldest continuous celebration of emancipation in the United States, but this event is older.

Watchnight. The first emancipation-related Watchnight occurred on December 31, 1862.

Galveston’s first commemoration of emancipation (eventually earning the name Juneteenth) began on June 19, 1866.

On June 19, 1865, this Union Army officer signed and issued General Orders #3 on behalf of General Gordon Granger.

Major F. W. Emory, Adjutant General

This was the most popular sporting event at Juneteenth celebrations from the late 1800’s through the mid-1900’s.


Over 2,600 Black soldiers who unexpectedly arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865 were originally destined for this Texas port.

Brazos Santiago.

NOTE: A second large contingent of Black soldiers arrived in Galveston with General Gordon Granger. Granger’s White soldiers arrived on June 16th and 18th.

This was the first non-food industry to significantly commercialize Juneteenth.


Food was the first industry to profit significantly from Juneteenth. Later, dressmakers and clothing venues held Juneteenth specials, as celebrants were expected to wear impressive attire to Juneteenth events.

Uh-oh. You’re scared now, aren’t ya? Come back on June 17th, 18th or 19th prepared to show everybody what ya got. No, don’t just scroll away and claim you forgot. Want a reminder? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll remind you.

Don’t wanna do that? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Cause you’re scared! Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, chic-ken! You ain’t nothing but talk. Get away from here, Crybaby. Scaredy-cat, scaredy-cat, bye!