Juneteenth: How to Celebrate in Philly and the ‘Burbs

Learn and celebrate with these local events celebrating Juneteenth

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Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years following the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

During a summer where protesters have demanded attention to issues of police brutality against Black people and systemic racism in other institutions, Juneteenth is particularly resonant. In Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, Juneteenth is now a government holiday. The holiday was recognized by the state of Pennsylvania last year.

Want to join in -- or learn more? These local organizations are hosting events to celebrate. (Did we miss one? Email us here.)

Juneteenth with the Museum
Friday, June 19
9 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

The Museum of the American Revolution will mark the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth and will explore the continuing struggle for equality. The virtual event will feature the one-woman show “Freedom on the Horizon” with historical interpreter Nastassia Parker on Facebook Live, an Instagram Live Q&A with the museum’s Manager of Gallery Interpretation, and more. For more information visit here.

PA Juneteenth Coalition: Celebrate the Diaspora!
Friday, June 19
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Juneteenth Coalition will host the virtual festival that will feature a virtual cross-country walk from Galveston, Texas — where Juneteenth began — to Philadelphia with 93-year-old Opal Lee.

Juneteenth Virtual Roundtable for Justice
Friday, June 19
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

State Representatives Ed Gainey (D) and Christopher M. Rabb (D) will participate in a virtual Town Hall with For Our Future Pennsylvania to discuss steps the Pennsylvania Legislature could take to reform the criminal justice system and call on all members of the House to remember George Floyd and reform Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. Click here to register.

Friday, June 19 (rain date 6/26)
4 p.m. - 7 p.m.

The Philadelphia Chapter of Black Lives Matter will host an event at Malcolm X Park at 5100 Pine Street in Philadelphia to celebrate Black joy, freedom and resistance with food, music, marching and dancing. Organizers encourage attendees to bring a lawn chair, wear masks and practice social distancing. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

MakeBlackCount: 2020 Census & the Black Community
Friday, June 19
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Join the Urban League of Philadelphia, African American Chamber of Commerce, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church and the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement for an in-depth conversation with Philadelphia influencers on the importance of the 2020 Census for the African American community. The Facebook event will also celebrate the history and resilience of Black people across the world. Click here to register.

Juneteenth 2020 Virtual Festival
Saturday, June 20
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The African American Museum of Philadelphia will host a celebration and reflection at its Juneteenth 2020 Virtual Festival. 2020 marks Pennsylvania’s first official statewide observance of Juneteenth, the African American holiday which originated in 1865 when the news of emancipation finally reached Galveston, Texas. This Juneteenth, AAMP will Celebrate the Diaspora by showcasing performances, fun activities, and public dialogues for all ages that highlight current and historic Diasporic connections across the globe. Artists, scholars and activists will discuss the 15th and 19th Amendments and the evolution of the Black Vote, Immigrant Heritage Month, and the immense contributions members of the African Diaspora make to the Philadelphia and worldwide cultural landscape.

Johnson House Juneteenth Festival
Saturday, June 20
12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

For the last 13  years, Johnson House celebrated Juneteenth by having a street festival on the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the celebration will be held virtually from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. For more information visit here.

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