On June 19, 1865, more than two years after then-President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the news of the end of slavery reached Texas via orders from a Union Army general. One year later, in 1866, freed slaves began celebrating Juneteenth as the day they knew they were free. Now an official public holiday in New York State, Juneteenth marks the end of slavery, celebrates Black culture and accomplishments, and acknowledges the systemic injustices people of color continue to face today.
In Central Park, Juneteenth provides an opportunity to learn about Seneca Village, the predominately Black community that existed on the site before the City built Central Park, and to reflect on its relationship to emancipation.
Seneca Village was formed in 1825, two years before the process of emancipation began in New York State. Founded in part by Black church leaders, Seneca Village offered Black New Yorkers freedoms unimaginable in many other parts of the country. Many male residents owned property and were thus eligible to vote. As an autonomous and largely middle-class community, it represented the promise of emancipation.
On June 19 and 20, Conservancy staff will offer in-person and virtual tours of the Seneca Village site and will be available to answer questions, offer free resources, and orient visitors to our self-guided exhibit, Discover Seneca Village.
Advance registration is required for all tours.
Visit Seneca Village June 19–20
Before Central Park was built, the area from West 82nd to West 89th Street was home to Seneca Village, the largest community of African-American property owners in New York.
Seneca Village was an important community of predominantly African-American property owners, who lived in an area that is now Central Park in the West 80s.
Tags: Staff Picks
Stop by this special pop up event to meet with Conservancy staff who will be on hand to answer questions and orient visitors to our self-guided exhibit “Discover Seneca Village.,”