In a year that ignited nationwide protests demanding racial equality and social justice, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) hosted an online Juneteenth community day. The goal of the virtual community day was to celebrate Juneteenth as a day symbolizing the freedom of African Americans and the hope of a nation. For more than 250,000 African Americans, June 19, 1865 signaled the final day of their enslavement. Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, Texas had yet to recognize the president’s executive order. Known as Juneteenth, many in the African American community celebrate this day as the end of chattel slavery in the U.S., but its significance remains largely unknown to most Americans. The legacy of Juneteenth underscores the enduring resilience of African Americans—and all Americans—and concerns about equality that still reverberate today.
On the heels of the murder of George Floyd and amid growing Black Lives Matter protests, the Museum launched a Juneteenth campaign to help contextualize contemporary issues such as social protest and racial equality. The campaign included a multi-channel outreach strategy to educate and engage audiences in a Juneteenth celebration. The campaign included web, social media, traditional media, and corporate partnership. By utilizing a mix of programmatic, interactive, and conversational elements, we reinforced the themes of resilience and hope.
A key part of the strategy included a Juneteenth resource webpage. The webpage was the hub for all Juneteenth activities. The strong web presence allowed us to reach people around the world regardless of time zones and physical access to the building. The traditional media plan included interviews with curators and connected news outlets to the museum’s virtual programming, artifacts and resources. The media strategy also included stories and mentions in radio, television, print and online outlets. Social media served as the primary vehicle for communicating activities and delivering bite-sized educational content. The social media campaign also included a timeline, enabling followers to engage in our real-time, virtual community day.
In the first 24 hours, the NMAAHC Juneteenth resource page earned a total of 51,438 page views from more than 40,000 unique visitors. NMAAHC social media posts supporting the Juneteenth Virtual Community Day potentially reached more than 67 million people and garnered 171,752 engagements. No posts were shared the following day; however, posts garnered over 500,000 organic impressions.
The initial Juneteenth tweets received more than 600 retweets in 15 minutes, with a total of 7,903 retweets as of June 23, 2020. The post sharing Rochelle Rice’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice” garnered nearly 40,000 views.