"Our America: Black Freedom" begins with the holiday's origin at the birthplace of Juneteenth - Texas. It is an intimate look at a holiday many didn't know about. Juneteenth celebrates the effective end to slavery in the United States. It marks the day when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the last remaining enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas - two and a half years after its signing - on June 19, 1865. The following year, on June 19, the first official Juneteenth celebration took place.Led by the race and culture executive producers Porsha Grant, Nzinga Blake and Mariel Myers, the team wanted to ensure that community members familiar with the tradition would be the ones telling the celebratory stories that honor Juneteenth. From capturing heartfelt elements such as the 5,000-square-foot "Absolute Equality" mural in Galveston, Texas - that begins at the same spot where Gen. Gordon Granger issued the orders that resulted in the freedom of more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas - to understanding the historical depth of spiritual hymns and dance as part of Juneteenth. Through on-the-ground reporting by each race and culture journalist located across the eight-owned markets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno, viewers will experience first-hand the tradition.The powerful storytelling by the ABC Owned Television Stations' race and culture journalists includes the following:
- Emancipation Day - the history of Juneteenth, narrated by distinguished historian Claude Clegg, who specializes in the history of the African diaspora in America.
- The Making of a Holiday - ABC13 Houston Journalist Cory McGinnis conducts an in-depth interview with the "grandmother of Juneteenth." The 94-year-old Texas native Opal Lee has been marching two and a half miles in designated states across the country as part of a walking campaign pushing for Juneteenth to become a nationally recognized holiday. Symbolizing the two and a half years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation (signed in January 1863) to reach Texas on June 19, 1865, Lee hopes the walking campaign will raise awareness about the importance of this historical day of slave liberation.
- Jubilee Day - ABC11 Raleigh Durham journalist Akilah Davis shares with viewers the legacy and beauty of spiritual "hymns" and how they played a critical role in how slaves would uplift each other while enslaved on plantations. While these songs were songs of solace and sorrow, spiritual hymns were also used to celebrate their new freedom, resilience and hope.
- Red Food Tradition - ABC7 Los Angeles journalist Anabel Munoz sits down with a Southern California family keeping the Juneteenth tradition alive in their home. The family's matron walks Munoz through the symbolic meaning of "red" foods served during Juneteenth. As she opens her kitchen and home, through food, the bloodshed by those enslaved and the resilience and hope tell a powerful story through the preparation, the textures, the smells, and the tastes of why she continues to preserve history through cooking.
- Juneteenth in Brooklyn - ABC7 New York Crystal Cranmore looks at how Brooklyn celebrates Juneteenth. In New York, they only formally recognized it last year in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. Cranmore speaks to Councilwoman Inez Barron and her husband, New York state assemblyman Charles Barron about a bill to conduct a study on how to determine reparations for Black people.
- Juneteenth Tradition in Central Valley, California - ABC30 Fresno journalist Linda Ha sits down with Dr. Francine L. Oputa, the cousin of Ms. Opal Lee, known as the "grandmother of Juneteenth." She shares how the tradition of Juneteenth is about justice, fairness and equity.
- Black Wealth - 6ABC11 Philadelphia journalist TaRhonda Thomas examines how generational wealth, long denied, stolen, and withheld from Black people due to years of racism and structural barriers, plays a part in Black Freedom. Thomas speaks to financial analysts that provide background and a plan for the future on how to start building wealth.
- Reparations - ABC7 Chicago journalist Will Jones reports on reparations long overdue and examines if Black families in Evanston, IL, will receive a version of reparations through Evanston's Restorative Housing Program. But local activists aren't comfortable with the terminology use of reparations that doesn't match what the housing program actually offers.