Juneteenth celebrations: What to do in Chicago and beyond
June 19 marks Juneteenth, the true day of liberation in 1865 for the remaining enslaved African Americans who were notified of their freedom on that date in Galveston, Texas.
The holiday has its own flag created by activist Ben Haith, where the colors — red, white, and blue — are sported with a bursting star (representing Texas, nicknamed the Lone Star State), celebrating the true day of liberation of the last enslaved Black people in the United States in 1865.
Last month, the Illinois state legislature declared Juneteenth a state holiday.
Here’s a list of Juneteenth celebrations planned across Chicago and beyond:
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, 212 N. 6th, Springfield: A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward will be displayed from June 15 to July 6. Entry fee: Adults ($15); Kids, 5-15 ($6); presidentlincoln.illinois.gov.
A Juneteenth Jazz Celebration, 4301 W. Washington: The New Mount Pilgrim MB Church will host a jazz celebration honoring historian and educator Haki R. Madhubuti with a performance by Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few, 2-4 p.m. June 19. The event is free, but register for tickets at eventbrite.com.
Beverly/Morgan Park Juneteenth Family Festival and Black business Crawl 2021, 11000 S. Longwood and 2407 W. 111th (Beverly Arts Center): The event includes storytelling, art, drumming circles, food, and activities for kids, along with featured promotion of Black-owned businesses, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Noon – 3 p.m (BAC location), June 19. The event is free; facebook.com/events.
CMPI Juneteenth Celebration, online: The Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative will host a virtual celebration of diversity in classical music coinciding with Juneteenth. The slate of performers will include composer Xavier Foley and bassist Joseph Conyers, 6:45 p.m. June 19. The event is free; app.mobilecause.com.
Eden Place Nature Center, 4417 S. Stewart: The Fuller Park venue will host a Father’s Day Juneteenth celebration, The picnic outing includes storytelling, and music from the 64th Street Drummers and the Nancy Green Team Performers, 1-3 p.m. June 20. The event is free; edenplacenaturecenter.org
Evanston’s Juneteenth Parade, 1801 Main, Evanston: This year’s parade, which has the theme, “A journey towards real reparations,” kicks off at the Robert Crown Center and proceeds north on Dodge Avenue to Simpson Street, east on Simpson Street to the Morton Civic Center. 11 a.m. June 19. The event is free; cityofevanston.org.
Fred!, online: The SPAA (Speakers Publishers & Authors Association)Theater & Performing Arts Center will host “Fred!” a virtual musical celebrating the life and times of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, 7 p.m. June 19. $10 cover charge; eventbrite.com.
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago Area and Northwest Indiana, King Branch, Chicago Public Library, 3436 S. King Drive: The GCNWI is hosting a Chicago Neighborhood Walk in Bronzeville. The event will include a walk along the Bronzeville Hall of Fame along with food and snacks. 10 a.m. to noon. June 19. $2 cover charge. Internet registration ends June 16; activecommunities.com.
Jerk 48, 611 E. 67th: The jerk eats restaurant is hosting a block party with free food, a bounce house, giveaways and games, along with music provided by Chosen Few DJs member Wayne Williams. 2-5 p.m. June 19. The event is free; instagram.com/jerk_48.
Juneteenth yoga class, 1618 E. 53rd: Black-owned yoga studio, YogaSix, is offering a Juneteenth yoga class. All proceeds will go to a social justice nonprofit or the DuSable Museum of African American History, 10 a.m. June 20. Suggested $10 donation; yogasix.com.
The Woodlawn, 1200 E. 79th: The Chatham eatery and event space will host a Juneteenth Block Party featuring guest DJs, spoken word poetry, comedy, and light refreshments, Noon-10 p.m. June 19. The event is free; thewoodlawn1200.com.