Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Libertation Day, celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation of 1865. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end to slavery in the United States. While some of our City is still under COVID-19 restrictions, our community celebrates in thoughtful walks, marches, online, and virtually. Here are a few ways to celebrate Juneteenth 2021, now an official New York State Holiday, and on June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law, making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday!
Celebrate Juneteenth in Harlem with a free, outdoor screening of Summer of Soul presented by Target in association with Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, NYC Parks’ Historic Harlem Parks and JazzMobile. The special advance screening will be followed by live performances at The Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park featuring Questlove and surprise guests. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, highlights the story of the momentous 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, featuring never-before-seen footage from the massive concert series that was – until now – virtually eliminated from the history books.
Community groups Creating Unity in the Community, Brownsville Heritage House, Inc. and Project Africa Restoration are organizing the flag raisings.
The Alice Austen House is partnering with Worthless Studios as part of the Plywood Protection Project to program an outdoor stage designed by Tony DiBernado which will be installed on our grounds for a period of 6 weeks, May 12th – June 30th with 3 distinct performances offered free of charge to the public. All performances are on the lawn, socially distanced and masked in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Village Preservation is proud to join with Project 1Voice and dozens of community partners to celebrate the 200th birthday of the African Grove Theater. The legacy lives on in theater created by and for those of African descent and in the vibrant world of Black theater. We’ll celebrate this remarkable institution through readings, recreations, and a panel on Saturday, June 19th.
A solidarity march in the form of a 5K walk/run with NYC based run crewsand community groups. The event will cover Riverbank, Jackie Robinson, Saint. Nicholas, and Morningside Parks in Harlem. Immediately following the 5K we are hosting a concert and BBQ highlighting local eateries, food trucks / vendors that champion health and wellness.
This year, Juneteenth falls on a Saturday ~ and, weather permitting, the Harlem Drummers will be found making music in the Drummers Circle from mid-afternoon through evening.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) created an interactive story map to celebrate New York City’s African American history through its designated places. Entitled Preserving Significant Places of Black History, it celebrates New York City’s African American history through designated landmarks and historic districts. For five decades LPC has been recognizing, supporting, and celebrating places of African American cultural and historic significance through designation. This story map highlights landmarks and historic districts that illustrate the experiences and achievements of African Americans through interactive maps, narrative text, images, and multimedia content.
NYC DOT Art Community Commission and The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance partnered to install a timely and pertinent new art installation in Harlem. Kenseth Armstead: Boulevard of African Monarchs arrived on 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard on August 13, 2020.
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) announced the launch of Seneca Village Unearthed, an online exhibit and collection of artifacts from what was once New York City’s largest community of free African-American landowners. Seneca Village was located in what is now Central Park, a scenic landmark. Through this online exhibit and collection, the general public will for the first time have access to nearly 300 artifacts and get a glimpse of what life was like for Seneca villagers in the mid-19th century.
The Central Park Conservancy launched its first major interpretive signage initiative in Central Park to commemorate Seneca Village, a predominantly African American community that existed before the City of New York created Central Park. The interpretive signs build on decades of research, including the work of the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History (IESVH) — a group of scholars and archeologists who have been studying Seneca Village — as well as the Conservancy’s deep knowledge of the history of Central Park and long involvement in the study of Seneca Village.
African Burial Ground (managed by the National Park Service) is the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans. It protects the historic role slavery played in building New York. The Visitors Center is located at 290 Broadway; The outside memorial is located at the intersection of African Burial Ground Way (formerly Elk Street) and Duane Street.
Founded in 1904, NAMA is the oldest African-American Musical organization in the United States. It was founded at the time that the American Federation of Musicians Local 310 didn’t admit minority musicians. Follow on Facebook.
Harlem-based tour company Welcome To Harlem originated in 2004 with tour guides who are born and raised in the neighborhood. Tours range from walking tours through historic neighborhoods to jamming jazz and gospel.
The Green Book, a guidebook for black Americans, was published by New York postal worker Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the Jim Crow era in America as a way for working-class African-Americans to pursue the American Dream of travel before and during the Civil Rights Movement. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture houses the full digital collection of Green Books and other similar guides. They are available free online.
In celebration of Juneteenth (2020) and to celebrate the homegoing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, Parks created a grove in Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, in dedication: named “Juneteenth Grove.” Adding to an existing tree presentation at this location, the agency planted 19 new flowering trees—as they fortify life—that flank the park’s main entry path on Tillary St. (between Cadman Plaza E. and W.) and has displayed newly designed banners marking the area. The Juneteenth Grove features a temporary painting of 19 existing benches in the colors of the globally recognized Pan-African Flag (Red, Black, and Green). As the steward of nearly three million trees, Parks recognizes the Black community’s complicated relationship with trees—they represent thousands lynched and their roots symbolize the depth and connectivity the Black community has to this Nation.
We will continue to add events as we receive them.