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  • Doily Allergen

A History of Juneteenth In Iowa City

juneteenth on calendar

According to a Wikipedia article we read 30 seconds ago, Juneteenth commemorates The Union Army announcing federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 that all slaves in the state were now and forever free. Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, more Americans are celebrating Juneteenth than ever before. Here is a review of Iowa City’s rich Juneteenth history that dates back a whole 22 years ago.


University of Iowa sophomore Kayla Richards asks her friend, “Hey, is today a holiday?” to which her friend replied, “No, I don’t think so.”


Legal form 28-C is officially filed, making Junetheeth a holiday in Iowa. To celebrate, a cake is placed in the break room of the Iowa State Capitol. Everyone kind of had a big lunch that day, so only half of it was eaten, and no one wanted to take the rest home, so they threw it away.


Iowa City resident Richard Vauss mentions to his wife that he’d like BBQ for dinner that night. They end up ordering wings, grits, and dinner rolls from Pop’s Barbecue. All of this was completely unrelated to Juneteenth.


While completing a crossword puzzle, Mayor Matt Hayek argued with one of his aids about the answer to the 10 letter down word for “Holiday; celebrates African Americans,” saying “But it’s not February!” Thanks to his iPhone calendars, Mayor Hayek realized his mistake and quickly organized the first ever Iowa City Juneteenth Commemoration. For an event thrown together last minute, it was fairly decent. Complete with black drill and dance teams, BBQ, and slam poetry, there were only 48 calls to the police from concerned neighbors that night.


University of Iowa fraternity Delta Chi organizes the Iowa City’s 7th Annual Juneteenth, making it the largest and most successful celebration to date. It was later revealed that the fraternity had done this as a joke and made their pledges do all the work as part of their hazing process, which many called “confusing” and “a lot to unpack.”


We stopped paying attention for a couple years, but we have a black mayor now so it evens out.

Correction: It turns out, black communities in Iowa City have been celebrating Juneteenth this whole time. Ha, who knew!?


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