10 Notable Juneteenth Celebrations Across the US | PHOTOs

By
Sheeka Sanahori
A woman dances to live music as she celebrates Juneteenth.
A woman dances to live music as she celebrates Juneteenth / Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images

*Music, dancing, and large spreads of food—especially red drinks and desserts—mark the Juneteenth holiday celebrated by African Americans on June 19. Via Stacker, we’re bringing you info on 10 Notable Juneteenth Celebrations across the country you get into. First some background.

Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day,” was first celebrated in Galveston, Texas, on the first anniversary of the day Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s orders informed enslaved Texans that they were free. On June 19, 1865, two months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation decreed all enslaved Black people become free, African Americans in Texas were still in slavery—until more than 2,000 Union troops came to deliver the message and enforce their freedom.

Juneteenth celebrations stalled in the first half of the 20th century. Still, Black communities across the country revived them mid-century as the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movement gained momentum. Since Juneteenth was named a federal holiday in 2021, local municipalities and event organizers have been growing their public Juneteenth offerings. Many cities hold televised parades, Juneteenth pageants, and block parties. Community organizers often create programming around specific issues, such as improving mental health in the Black community, reimagining Black liberation, and honoring ancestors.

What Juneteenth events are happening near you? There are vast differences in programming from city to city. Stacker analyzed local and regional Juneteenth celebrations to compile this list of notable events found across and outside the United States.

President of the Juneteenth Legacy Project Sam Collins poses in front of “Absolute Equality” mural / FRANCOIS PICARD/AFP via Getty Images
President of the Juneteenth Legacy Project Sam Collins poses in front of “Absolute Equality” mural / FRANCOIS PICARD/AFP via Getty Images

Juneteenth and Beyond Guided Tours – Galveston, Texas

Date: June 17, 2023 (Juneteenth parade and picnic)

As the birthplace of Juneteenth, Galveston has several events, such as Juneteenth and Black history tours, planned throughout the month. Every year, it recreates Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s reading the order enforcing the freedom of Texas’ enslaved people. It’ll host a Juneteenth parade and picnic at Wright Cuney Park this year.

Charles C. Peebles/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images / Opal’s Walk for Freedom during Juneteenth Celebration in Fort Worth.
Charles C. Peebles/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images / Opal’s Walk for Freedom during Juneteenth Celebration in Fort Worth.

Opal’s Walk for Freedom – Fort Worth, Texas

Date: June 19, 2023

As Fort Worth prepares to open the National Juneteenth Museum in 2025, the city is continuing its legacy of celebrating the holiday with several events. On Juneteenth this year, the public can walk 2.5 miles with community activist Opal Lee as part of Opal’s Walk for Freedom. Lee, known as the grandmother of Juneteenth, championed the holiday’s federal recognition. The 2.5-mile walk represents the 2.5 years it took for the news of freedom to reach Galveston, Texas.

Musicians at a Juneteenth celebration / Tippman98x // Shutterstock
Musicians at a Juneteenth celebration / Tippman98x // Shutterstock

Memphis Juneteenth Festival – Memphis, Tennessee

Date: June 17-18, 2023

Memphis has celebrated Juneteenth by selling music, art, and food every year since 1993. In 2021, the Memphis Juneteenth Festival moved to Health Sciences Park, a park originally named for a Confederate general and enslaver and reclaimed with this celebration of Black liberation. Memphis’ Juneteenth celebration will occur this year across two days.

Scene from a Juneteenth parade in West Philadelphia / Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Scene from a Juneteenth parade in West Philadelphia / Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Juneteenth Music Festival – Philadelphia

Date: June 18, 2023

For those who love a crowd, Philadelphia boasts the largest Juneteenth celebration in the country. This year, organizers planned a parade, marketplace, and music festival in West Philadelphia. The music festival features hip-hop artists Lil Mo, DJ Cupid, and Fatman Scoop.

Close-up of musician at Juneteenth celebration / lev radin // Shutterstock
Close-up of musician at Juneteenth celebration / lev radin // Shutterstock

Macknificent Freedom Fest – Fort Wayne, Indiana

Date: June 17, 2023

Fort Wayne may be the smallest city on this list, but its Macknificent Freedom Fest is a notable Juneteenth celebration in the Midwest. The celebration will begin with a symbolic freedom march followed by live music and family activities. While there, stop at Fort Wayne’s Genealogy Center, one of the largest physical collections of genealogical records in the world; it’s a great place for African American families to research their history.

Scene from a Juneteenth parade in Milwaukee / Dylan Buell // Getty Images for VIBE
Scene from a Juneteenth parade in Milwaukee / Dylan Buell // Getty Images for VIBE

52nd Juneteenth Street Festival – Milwaukee

Date: June 19, 2023

Because of Juneteenth celebrations slowing down at the turn of the 20th century, Milwaukee currently holds the record for the longest consecutively running Juneteenth celebration. This year, the city has planned a Juneteenth pageant, televised parade, and festival. Organizers encourage everyone to come out to learn about Black culture at these public events.

National Juneteenth Observance Foundation communications director Deborah Evans / Ethan Miller // Getty Images
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation communications director Deborah Evans / Ethan Miller // Getty Images

Las Vegas Juneteenth Festival – Las Vegas

Date: June 17, 2023

’90s R&B fans will love the lineup Las Vegas organizers have curated for its 22nd Juneteenth festival, including a headlining set from hometown R&B group 702. Bigg Feva, Amirah Lov3, and many other upcoming and local artists will also take the stage at this year’s celebration.

Scene from a Juneteenth parade / Tippman98x // Shutterstock
Scene from a Juneteenth parade / Tippman98x // Shutterstock

7th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival – Columbia, South Carolina

Date: June 17, 2023

Columbia’s Juneteenth event has an exciting lineup if gospel music is more your style. Gospel singers Yolanda Adams and Tye Tribbett are headlining the Joyfest Concert this year, the same day as the SC Juneteenth Freedom Festival.

Close-up of a Juneteenth shirt / Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images
Close-up of a Juneteenth shirt / Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Omaha Freedom Festival – Omaha, Nebraska

Date: June 17, 2023

Omaha, Nebraska, rounds out the list of Juneteenth festivals with well-known artists slated to perform this year. R&B singer-songwriter Musiq Soulchild will headline, with fellow soulful crooner Lyfe Jennings opening the Omaha Freedom Festival, which aims to “educate, empower, and entertain” the community about North Omaha culture “while bringing awareness to local, social and business resources.”

Scene from a Juneteenth parade / Go Nakamura // Getty Images
Scene from a Juneteenth parade / Go Nakamura // Getty Images

FABA Fest – Barbados

Date: June 15-18, 2023

Some Americans are setting their sights on celebrating the Juneteenth holiday overseas this year. This year, Barbados will host a Juneteenth celebration for alums of historically Black colleges or universities, providing a welcoming atmosphere curated especially for Black people across the African diaspora. FABA Fest, which stands for “For Alumni, By Alumni,” celebrates the HBCU experience and will take place across the Juneteenth holiday weekend.

Story editing by Kelly Glass. Copy editing by Paris Close.

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