These trailblazers' achievements resonate as modern innovators continue the journey, and Juneteenth events across our state celebrate freedom.
1 DurhamSee on map
Through the team at the Pauli Murray Center in Durham, travelers encounter the legal trailblazer on walking tours of the city where they grew up. The premiere of My Name Is Pauli Murray at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021 should serve to heighten interest in the attorney-activist who influenced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Eleanor Roosevelt and others. There are several ways to celebrate in and around Durham for Juneteenth, including the 18th annual NC Juneteenth celebration and Capital City Juneteenth Celebration.
2 GreensboroSee on map
Less than a mile from the International Civil Rights Museum housed in the F.W. Woolworth’s where the Greensboro Four staged their movement-launching sit-in, the Historic Magnolia House recaptures its glory as a Green Book motel. The Historic Magnolia House hosted legendary performers, athletes and civil rights activists including Martin Luther King Jr., Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Tina Turner and other major figures from the civil rights era. Today, the Victorian-style building offers lodging, dining and events. Learn more about African American heritage at North Carolina’s remaining Green Book sites and other history-rich venues.
3 AshevilleSee on map
In Asheville, Ween drummer Claude Coleman Jr. has converted another Green Book site into SoundSpace, where musicians can rehearse in rooms where Black musicians and baseball players once stayed. Coming soon: a soul food restaurant helmed by chef Clarence Robinson, a relative of the motel’s original owners. Today, travelers can get a glimpse into Asheville’s distinctive story with a Hood Tour, a visit to the resurging YMI Cultural Center, dinner at Benne on Eagle (the Foundry Hotel restaurant located in the Black business hub known as The Block) and other nearby businesses. Take part in the weeklong Juneteenth celebrations, in partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County.
4 CharlotteSee on map
In 2021, a week after the soaring Black culinary success with the inaugural BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, the Queen City honored its civil rights history with the unveiling of a statue of Julius Chambers. In a lawsuit against the local school board, Chambers prevailed in the landmark 1971 US Supreme Court ruling that allowed busing as a remedy to achieve racial balance. The statue on the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, part of Charlotte’s Trail of History, joins other points of interest to civil rights travelers, including the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, named for Charlotte’s first Black mayor and the first Black student admitted to Clemson University. Join the Juneteenth celebrations in Charlotte at the 26th year of the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas.
5 WashingtonSee on map
At the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, executive director Leesa Jones relates how freedom seekers and abolitionists gamed the system on the Pamlico River. The same maritime network helped Harriet Jacobs escape from Edenton. Less than an hour down the road you can join in the festivities at the New Bern Juneteenth Celebration, promoting the broad spectrum of African American heritage through educational and cultural activities.
More Juneteenth Events
- Juneteenth Freedom Festival: June 16-19, 2023, in Fayetteville and Spring Lake
- Juneteenth Celebration: June 16, 2023, in Elizabeth City
- Juneteenth Freedom Celebration: June 17, 2023, in Lexington
- Juneteenth Celebration: June 17, 2023, in Smithfield
- Juneteenth Festival: June 17, 2023, in Winston-Salem
- Annual Juneteenth Celebration: June 18, 2023, in Greenville