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!
Now leaving its pop-up location in Times Square, Lorraine Hansberry: To Sit Awhile by artist Alison Saar is on its way to The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem to be on view from June 13th through June 18th. This is another location close to Hansberry, since she at one time worked at the Harlem-based newspaper ‘Freedom’ advocating for civil rights in the 1960s.
In celebration of Black Music Month, the Apollo Theater team will activate their social media community to honor the musical contributions and influences of Black artists, which have and will continue to be an essential part of the global landscape of music. Challenges include share your swap playlists with a friend, listen to an album recorded Live at the Apollo, and donate to a music school or charity.
On June 4, 2022 from 1 – 5 p.m. at the CCCADI Firehouse (120 E. 125th Street, New York, NY), families of all ages are invited to immerse themselves in an afternoon of African Diasporic cultural exchange featuring the exploration of a curated selection Black and Brown authors by Bronx Bound Books, an African dance workshop with VashtiDance Theatre and rain stick instrument making led by teaching artist Sandra Bell.
This event, entitled Sou Sou! Saturdays: Honoring the Spirit of Juneteenth, honors the spirit of those ancestors who longed for and learned of their freedom on June 19, 1865. The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) pays homage to those who came before us, their resilience, indomitable strength, and most importantly their ability to create and inspire despite their circumstances. CCCADI’s upcoming Sou Sou! family programming will honor not only Black Liberation but also Black Futures!
NYC Parks Department will celebrate JUNETEENTH in many locations from Dyckman Farmhouse Museum and Marcus Garvey Park to the Urban Farm on Randall’s Island and the Lewis H. Latimer House in Queens.
Kick off Juneteenth weekend with us this Friday, June 17, at The Africa Center, with free admission to “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” the Black foodways exhibit by the Museum of Food & Drink (MOFAD).
The show celebrates the countless contributions of Black chefs, farmers, and food and drink producers who have laid the foundation for American food culture. In addition to the exhibit, there’ll also be shoebox lunches by local Chef Lexis Gonzalez, barbecue by Daps Eats, plus shopping with local small businesses includiing Jam + Rico, Harlem Hoopz, Adinkra Republic & Hannah Bandanah.
As part of MOFAD’s Community Membership, free general admission will be offered to Harlem residents from 4-8 p.m. Register here.
The documentary ‘Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)’ will be on view as a free outdoor screening on Friday, June 17, 2022 in Marcus Garvey Park. This is part of the 2022 season of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage.
Programming will kick-off at 7:00pm, with the screening at 8pm. Programming includes “Say Their Names” with Poet Gold, Suprina & Sounds of Heritage, along with DJ Boogie Blind.
A look-back at Suprina’s DNA Totem in Marcus Garvey Park.
The 13th Annual Juneteenth New York will hold a three-day celebration beginning on Friday, June 17th online, on to Linden Parks and Gershwin Park ann June 18th, and ending with a concert in Prospect Park on June 19th.
If it’s Saturday, and the weather permits, The Harlem Drummers will be in the Harlem Drum Circle in Marcus Garvey Park, on the Madison Avenue side of the Park between 123rd and 124th Streets.
JUNETEENTH: a Three-Part Series in Collaboration with Harlem Stage, Park Avenue Armory, and Lincoln Center
Harlem Stage Associate Artistic Director and Curator-in-Residence Carl Hancock Rux moderates a panel discussion featuring journalist, New York Times columnist, MSNBC political analyst, and best-selling author, Charles Blow, award-winning producer, director, and scholar Dr. Indira Etwaroo, and award-winning author, curator, and critic Tavia Nyong’o. The panel will discuss some of the myths of the Emancipation Proclamation and the truth of modern-day slavery, examining Juneteenth and emancipation, and its history—past, present, and future.
The production is helmed by conductor, music director and multifaceted artist Damien Sneed and is hosted by WQXR personality Terrance McKnight. The Ordering of Moses is part of the Harlem Renaissance Centennial and is produced in association with The Manhattan School of Music and The Harlem School of the Arts. General admission tickets which have been made affordable are $25 are available online at https://harlemchamberplayers.
Explore the legacy of emancipation through an immersive art installation curated by Carl Hancock Rux with Tavia Nyong’o and Dianne Smith of newly discovered works by Archer Aymes, the elusive subject of Rux’s Obie-award winning play Talk, which had its premiere at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. The retrospective includes a light and sound installation that reconstructs Aymes’ experimental film Mother and Son—based on his novel of the same name and cultural artifacts that may have helped Aymes construct its story. Also on display is an accompanying altar of lost and found objects from an impossible archive of images, objects, and sounds Aymes collected in his attempt to explore the never-ending racial injustice that continues to shape the lives of its victims into the 21st century.
The event also features a concert performance by mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran and pianist Aaron Diehl from the operatic repertoire of Puccini, Weill, and Bernstein that touches upon various themes, from Aymes’ rumored closeness to Nina Simone to the desolation of family separation.
The culminating event takes place during the evening of June 19, with I Dream a Dream That Dreams Back at Me: A Juneteenth Celebration, curated and directed by Carl. The site-specific evening long event unfolds across Lincoln Center, drawing inspiration from the narratives of enslaved people seeking and finding freedom—from Harriet Tubman to today—and reckoning with the question of whether true freedom has ever fully been achieved. The multipart event includes artists such as Nona Hendryx, Étienne Lashley and The Collective, and Vernon Reid, performing original music including a song by Gordon Chambers and the “Combahee” song, with lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage. The performers wear original paper dress creations by interdisciplinary artist Dianne Smith. The event concludes with a concert by Grammy winner Cedric Burnside, followed by a Silent Disco Dance Party from DJ Belinda Becker, honoring contributions of Black Americans to modern music.
Join Pace Runs on June 18th for a 5K race at Brooklyn Bridge Pier Park.
Join the Juneteenth March 5K Run/Walk/Roll, rain or shine, in Central Park. All proceeds from the Juneteenth March go towards the building fund of the Harlem Center. The center is a 10-year effort started by a coalition of New York centered community based organizations (CBOs).
Join BRIC on Sunday, June 19th for Juneteenth UNITYFEST, a BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! concert co-presented by Robert Randolph Foundation. This is a Free event with RSVP.
Not on the calendar for Juneteenth, but suggested designations, in-person and online, below.
The Juneteenth Grove is dedicated in solidarity with the Black community to the fight to end systemic racism.
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.
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.
In the summer of 2017, the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force unveiled ten presentation boards in the lobby of the State Office Building on West 125th Street. The boards told an incredible story of a burial ground located on East 126th Street, under the current bus depot, with history dating back to the 1660s ~ and exhumations continuing to this day.
Visit New Amsterdam Musical Association (NAMA), the Oldest Union for Black Musicians in the United States, in Harlem
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.