Juneteenth commemorates the day on June 19th, 1865, when Union Army General Gordan Granger and his troops proclaimed freedom to the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the liberation of all enslaved individuals was not immediate.
The African Americans in Galveston transformed this day into a holiday, which has since been embraced nationwide. Juneteenth attained further recognition when it was declared a federal holiday in 2021 in the capital of the nation.
This year, Washington DC and its surrounding regions offer various ways to honor this significant holiday. Here are 10 such events:
- Jazz4Justice Juneteenth Festival: Monday, June 19th
Jazz4Justice is holding its second annual Juneteenth Festival on Monday, June 19th, at 6 PM. Collaborating with Gallery O on H, it will host performances by celebrated jazz artists such as Alison Crocket, Brent Birckhead, and the Herb Scott Quartet. The free event supports the First Shift Justice Project, and $20 donations are encouraged. RSVP via Facebook for this event.
- CAACO and Cheverly’s Juneteenth Celebration: Saturday, June 17th
The Civic African American Community Organization of Prince George’s County and the Town of Cheverly, Maryland, are hosting their second annual event. Activities include a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony, and other engaging events. The celebration is on Saturday, June 17th, at 12 PM at the Town Hall. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
- Juneteenth Celebration DC Museum Tour: Saturday, June 17th and Sunday, June 18th
Soul Nation Events is hosting an overnight museum tour at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC. The tours are on Saturday, June 17th, and Sunday, June 18th. Saturday’s schedule includes a comedy show and a dance party, while Sunday focuses on the museum. Tickets can be purchased on Soul Nation Events’ website.
- Celebrate Juneteenth: Sunday, June 18th
Celebrate Juneteenth is hosting an event on Sunday, June 18th, at 11 AM at Brookland Arts Walk. Attendees can shop from multiple black-owned businesses. Notable percussionist, Jabari Exum, who contributed to films like Black Panther, will discuss his work. Free reservations are available on Eventbrite.
- Juneteenth Honors: Thursday, June 15th
The Juneteenth Foundation’s award ceremony, Juneteenth Honors, takes place on Thursday, June 15th, at 7 PM at the historic Warner Theater in DC. Attendees will enjoy performances by distinguished guests like Ja Rule and Ashanti. Tickets are available on their website.
- Juneteenth for The City: Saturday, June 17th
Bread For the City & Mema’s Popups are celebrating Juneteenth on Saturday, June 17th, at 1 PM. The outdoor DC event features shopping from multiple black-owned businesses and performances from acts like Chocolate City Soul. Free tickets are available on Eventbrite.
- Juneteenth: Unity in the Community: Saturday, June 17th
Hemingway Memorial AME Church, the City of District Heights, and local churches are hosting a celebration on Saturday, June 17th, at 12 PM. The free event includes food trucks and live music, and attendees are even welcome to perform. Tickets can be found on Eventbrite.
- Juneteenth Freedom Celebration: Unity. Freedom. Acknowledgment: Monday, June 19th
The Anacostia Community Museum is celebrating Juneteenth on Monday, June 19th, at 11 AM. This free, family-friendly event will feature trivia games, an urban gardening workshop, and more engaging activities. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
- Juneteenth Black Business Expo: Sunday, June 18th
The Extraordinary Investment Group (EIG), a black investing service that educates others on wise investment practices, is hosting its third annual Juneteenth Black Business Expo on Sunday, June 18th, at 11 AM in Downtown Silver Spring. The event will showcase over 60 black-owned businesses and include games and live performances. Tickets can be obtained on Eventbrite.
- Juneteenth Freedom Day: Saturday, June 17th
The Charles County Juneteenth Committee is holding its fourth annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 17th, at 1 PM at the Shops at Waldorf Center. The event will feature African cultural drumming and a poetry contest, among other exciting activities. Free tickets for the event are available on Eventbrite.