It’s official. Juneteenth is now recognized as a state, country, and city-wide holiday which gives Chicagoans even more opportunities to celebrate this significant and liberating holiday for African-Americans.
From marches to car caravans, black business crawls, and virtual activities—there are endless ways to honor and recognize this significant holiday of freedom of Black people in the United States.
What is Juneteenth and why is it important?Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth marks an important moment in American history, June 19, 1865, when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom, two and a half years after the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. On that day, Major General Gordon Granger came to town with General Order Number 3 and the news that the enslaved were free.
Further prompted by significant events in 2020, including the murder of George Floyd. Juneteenth continues to resonate in new ways. African-Americans are constantly pursuing new and impactful ways to celebrate the federal holiday through community-oriented events, family gatherings, marches, and more.
March For US 2021
Saturday | June 19th | 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
701 S State St. | Free
Kick-off Juneteenth with thousands of Chicagoans with a march through downtown Chicago. March for US 2021, aims to highlight systemic racism and the injustices of the police system. March for US will be the catalyst for spearheading a monumental Juneteenth celebration of freedom through community collaboration, respect, and unity. Advocating for reform has become paramount. The million-man-inspired march begins off at 11 a.m. at 701 S. State St., the march is scheduled to end at 50 W. Washington St. at 2 p.m. March for US will also serve as the kick-off event recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday in Cook County. For more details on this event, visit marchforus.org.
Roll N Peace 7: A Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday | June 19th | 4:00 p.m.
Ogden Park | 6500 South Racine Ave. | Free
Think Outside Da Block continues to promote health and wellness within black communities through their ongoing bike rides across South Side neighborhoods. On Juneteenth, they will continue to use cycling as the plan of action to address the public safety and mental health, and wellness of the Englewood community. With COVID-19 in mind, cycling is a great way to abide by social distancing measures while also getting outside, having fun, getting exercise, and having social interactions, all of which are good for mental health and immunity. For more information on this Juneteenth event, visit the event page.
Still We Rise Annual Juneteenth Festival
Sunday | June 20th | 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts | 555 East 51st St. | Free
For a family-friendly Juneteenth event, check out the Annual Still We Rise Juneteenth Festival. Still We Rise celebrates black people, black culture, black businesses, black excellence & black love. Head to Dyett High School for a day filled with delicious food, vendors, kid activities, games, giveaways, entertainment plus more. For more details, visit the event page.
9th Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday – Sunday | June 18th – 19th | Time Varies
National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum | 10406 South Maryland Ave. | Free
Celebrate Juneteenth over two days with a car caravan, parade, and festival. Hosted by TheBlackMall.com & The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum and is a part of Black Culture Week. The first day will be a citywide caravan parade on Friday, June 18th on the West Side of Chicago. It will follow a historically significant route outlining the great migration trail to the South Side at the Pullman Porter Museum. The second day will be an annual community re-commitment celebration at the National A Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum in Pullman National Monument, Chicago’s 1st and only National Park Service site. For more details on this two-day event and how to participate, visit the blackmall.com.
2nd Annual Rich Auntie Energy Juneteenth Bonfire
Saturday | June 19th | 6:30 p.m.
Promontory Point | 5491 S Shore Dr. | Free
The “aunties” are back this Juneteeth, and you do not want to miss their incredible energy. This Juneteenth event looks to celebrate Black, African-American, Aboriginal, and beautiful people through community, fireworks, food, fellowship, and more. For more details on this lakeside Juneteenth event, visit the Facebook page.
DUSABLE MUSEUM JUNETEENTH REOPENING
Saturday | June 19th | 11:00 a.m.
DuSable Museum of African American History | 740 E 56th Pl. | Free
Having been closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DuSable Museum of African American History is scheduled to reopen to the public in Juneteenth. The Chicago Black history museum will have a “welcome back” ceremony as well as impactful exhibitions and programs for visitors to experience including. This includes ‘The March,’ an amazing new virtual reality experience at the museum. Additionally, the DuSable Museum will provide free admission to visitors from June 19th until the end of the month. For more details on this event, visit the DuSable Museum.
Black People Eats: Juneteenth RESTAURANTS Celebration
Friday – Saturday | June 18th – 19th | Time Varies
Location Varies | Offers will vary by location
Now in its 2nd year, Black People Eats will partner with over 110 black-owned restaurants in Chicago and Atlanta to offer food specials in honor of Juneteenth. Prices will vary between $6.19 or $16.19 and take place on June 18th – 19th. For a full list of participating restaurants and offer details, visit Black People Eats on Instagram.
Juneteenth Block Party: The Woodlawn
Saturday | June 19th | 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
The Woodlawn | 1200 E 79th St. | $50
Celebrate Black culture and community with a Juneteenth block party at The Woodlawn. The exclusive adult-only ticketed event on the rooftop of The Woodlawn will feature private DJs, light refreshments, and an open bar on our rooftop patio, this will be an event you do not want to miss. General admission tickets are $50 and include rooftop admission, an open bar, and small bites all on the South Side rooftop. To make reservations for this liberation, celebration, visit the website here.
Nappi Hour: Juneteenth Edition
Saturday | June 19th | 9:00 p.m.
Good To Go Jamaican Cuisine & Event Space | 711 West Howard St. | Free before 11 p.m. with RSVP / $20 After
Nappi Hour, dubbed as the ‘a musical gumbo of the Diaspora,’ is back for the first time in over a year with a Juneteenth edition for the infamous after-hours series. The celebration will take place at Good To Go, a Black-owned Jamaican venue featuring Caribbean food, rum punch, and more. The evening will feature three DJs, a live performance by Chicago producer/engineer Renzell (credits Mick Jenkins, NoName, Chance The Rapper just to name a few), and two levels of fun, including a rooftop bar. For more details, visit nappihour.com.
We See You Comedy: Juneteenth Edition
Saturday | June 19th | Doors open at 8:00 p.m.
North Bar | 1637 West North Ave. | $20
Laughter and Black liberation go hand in hand. This Juneteenth, celebrate the freedom holiday by attending a comedy show. We See You Comedy: Juneteenth Edition hosted by Ben Noble will feature some of Chicago’s best and funniest comedians. Grab a few friends and celebrate Juneteenth with a few laughs. For tickets to the show, visit the event page.
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Black Excellence
Saturday | June 19th | 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Honor and celebrate Black excellence with Black cuisine this Juneteenth. The menu features a curated selection of soulful complimentary hors d’oeuvres A curated menu of soulful complimentary hors d’oeuvres prepared by some of the best Chef’s in the World (Chef Tina Gray, Chef Jae, Chef Grady, Chef Myron). Music by Chicago’s finest DJs and pure vibes. Tickets to the event include access to 2 hours of passed hors d’oeuvres and entertainment with some of the city’s best DJs. Take a peek at the menu and grab your tickets by checking out the event page.
Freedom Market at the Ace Hotel
Friday | June 18th | 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Freedom Market at Ace Hotel Chicago is co-hosted by IB Majekodunmi of Refine CLTV and Peter Gaona of ReformedSchool. The Freedom Market will bring together and spotlight a curated group of over a dozen Black-owned Chicago businesses with a collection of goods ranging from clothing to art, candles and plants, wellness products, and more. Tickets are required for entry with a portion of proceeds that will benefit the entrepreneurial experience program for students Gray Matter. To learn more about this event, visit the website here.
Juneteenth West Side Arts Festival
Thursday | June 17th | 5:00 p.m.
Celebrate the arts this Juneteenth with Front Porch Arts Center. Westside Classic is a storytelling performance centering on the voices of West Side residents. For this program, Front Porch Arts Center partners with elders of Bethel New Life and the Residents Orchestrate Project to showcase narrative storytelling with musical scores by Chicago Sinfonietta Orchestra Members. Covid safety and guidelines will be enforced, for more details, visit the event page.
Richard Wright Juneteenth Reading Circle
Thursday | June 17th | 6:00 p.m.
Online | Free
Tune into a virtual Juneteenth celebration with the Chicago Public Library. The Juneteenth Reading circle will center on a live discussion of Chicago author Richard Wright’s novel “The Man Who Lived Underground.” The conversation will look to shed light on the relevant themes shared in this significant book published over 80 years ago. Learn more about social justice and change through this roundtable conversation leading up to the Juneteenth weekend. To attend, visit the Chicago Public Library’s YouTube channel or Facebook page.
Resounding Liberty: Remembering Juneteenth
Saturday | June 19th | 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Online | Free
This Juneteenth celebrates online with the Chicago History Museum. The virtual celebration includes a civic talk on the history and national impact of Juneteenth, a Hands-On History performance on the story of Harriet Tubman, a Kitchen Table Talk on the significance behind special Juneteenth dishes, and contemporary community advocates who work to amplify African American cuisine. The event is free of charge with registration available online. Bonus: The Chicago History Museum is partnering with SemiColon, a black-owned bookstore, to engage families with a free book box. Family Book Boxes will be available at the Chicago History Museum starting, Wednesday, June 16 through Saturday, June 19th.
Meditation and Yoga at YogaSix Hyde Park
Saturday | June 19th | 9:00 a.m.
Online | Free
Clear your mind, body, and spirit this Juneteenth with Yoga Six in Hyde Park. The black and women-owned yoga studio will offer virtual mediation at 9 a.m. via their IG this Juneteenth weekend. In addition to that Yoga Six will also offer an in-person yoga class on June 20th, with donations benefitting the DuSable Museum of African American History. For more details, visit Yoga Six’s Instagram.
As I share in my Black History Month celebration posts every year, celebrating culture and history is not limited to just one month or holiday. You can celebrate and support African-American culture throughout the year by doing several things:
- Support Black-owned business.
- Dine at Black-owned restaurants.
- Setup recurring donations to Black-owned non-profits.
- Recognize and empathize with the African-American issues by being an ally in the fight for equality.
And, so much more. But for today at least, start by recognizing the importance of this holiday. Understand that the celebration of this independence day is not just a day off, but a day to educate, inform, and recognize the significance and power of Black people and culture in America.