PBS NewsWeekend Juneteenth’s evolution into a national holiday and meaningful ways to celebrate

The Juneteenth national holiday offers Georgians several meaningful ways to celebrate.

The Atlanta History Center is commemorating Juneteenth this Sunday by honoring the history of Black genealogy and agricultural practices.

“There are so many stories that exist within communities,” said Kristian Wetherspoon, the center’s VP or Digital Storytelling. "And from communities, they exist within families. And I think there is a certain pride and there is a certain ownership that you get from knowing your family’s history."

It's a great opportunity for the center to share its resources with the community, including genealogical research tools and expertise, Wetherspoon said.

“And for African Americans, [knowing your family’s history] is a unique not only experience, but that's a unique challenge because it's not as easy for us to be able to trace those roots.” she said.

Events that focus on genealogy on Sunday include a certified genealogist who will offer tips for Black families on how to research their family tree and a panel of three descendants of Black residents who were expelled from Forsyth County in 1912.

With a theme of Planted, the Atlanta History Center’s Juneteenth commemoration will also explore Black agricultural practices with events including a tour of the gardens where attendees will learn how enslaved people gardened in the antebellum South, according to the event’s website.

There will also be live music, interactive crafts and food.

“Juneteenth, I think it's one of those really interesting holidays it’s both commemorative and celebratory,” Wetherspoon said. “And so the programing at the History Center really works to focus on both of those. So attendees can expect to maybe learn something about Juneteenth and about the African American experience that maybe they didn't know before. But it will truly be a multicultural celebration.

The event is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 18 at the Atlanta History Center's Buckhead Campus. Wetherspoon said as many as 5,000 people are expected to attend.

Other events commemorating Juneteenth are happening this weekend all over the state.

Macon is celebrating its 31st annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival.

In Savannah, a number of events are happening including the Savannah Art Museum's annual Juneteenth Celebration and the Savannah Juneteenth Fine Arts Festival.

And in Atlanta, the Juneteenth Parade and Music Festival will return for the 11th year.