Five Places to Celebrate Juneteenth in the DMV Area

See five places you can go to celebrate and learn more about the significance of Juneteenth

2 mins read

President Joe Biden may have beaten everyone to it this year by throwing a party at the White House to celebrate Juneteenth on June 10th, but there are still several places in the DMV area to celebrate that do not need a ‘federal’ gate pass. June 19 or Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, or Liberation Day, is a historically significant and culturally relevant holiday that marks the emancipation of Black people who had been enslaved in the United States. Washington D.C. has been celebrating it since 2004, and below are some places you can celebrate.

  1. Smithsonian National Museum of African Art: Located at 950 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560, the museum will be admitting people for free on June 19 from 10:00am to 5:30 pm to see the exhibition, John Akomfrah: Five Murmurations. In ‘Five Murmurations’, artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah presents a compelling visual essay that reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic, the impactful death of George Floyd, and the ensuing global protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Drawing from a rich image archive of influential art and footage from the charged 18 months spanning 2019 to 2021, the work provides profound commentary on post-colonialism, experiences of diaspora, and the idea of collective memory.
  1. Jhené Aiko Concert: On June 23, the captivating Jhené Aiko is set to perform at the Capital One Arena, bringing her soulful melodies and positive vibes. Admirers of the R&B sensation will have the opportunity to unite in song as she presents her gentle harmonies in the Washington, D.C. stop of her Magic Hour Tour. The event is scheduled for Sunday, with ticket prices beginning at $110.
  1. Anacostia Community Museum: The museum will host a free musical celebration on June 19 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The indoor/outdoor celebration will present five musical acts on the main stage, including singer Alex Vaughn, go-go group Too Much Talent Band, and DC’s viral Front Porch artist Noochie (Wed, free, Anacostia).
  1. National Archives: From June 18 – 20, the archives, located at 700 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408, exhibit the authentic Emancipation Proclamation alongside General Order No. 3, the historic directive that liberated the remaining enslaved individuals in Galveston, Texas, a full three years after the Proclamation’s enactment. This is a rare sighting as the proclamation is only allowed under sunlight for 36 hours yearly due to its state. The exhibit lasts from 10:00 am – 7 pm for the three days.
  1. Smithsonian National Museum of American History: Located at 1300 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20560, the museum has a historical marker to honour Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old who was lynched during the Jim Crow era years after the proclamation. The marker serves as a reminder of the unending violence against African Americans.

Although Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth since the mid-late 1800s, it was long omitted from history books and only recently gained widespread recognition, becoming a federal holiday in 2021 following the renewed push for racial justice conversations sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black people in the U.S. Since its designation as a federal holiday, Juneteenth has become more universally recognized beyond Black America, with many people getting the day off work or school and participating in various street festivals, fairs, concerts, and other events that celebrate Black history, freedom, and expression.

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