Juneteenth celebrations: What to do, where to go in Chicago and beyondEvan F. Mooreon June 19, 2021 at 2:22 pm

The Juneteenth Flag signals the true day of liberation for the remaining enslaved African ancestors who were notified of their freedom in Galveston, Texas.
The Juneteenth flag celebrates the true day of liberation of the last enslaved Black people in the United States in 1865. | Evan F. Moore / Sun-Times

Parades, music, museums, block parties, tours and yoga classes across Chicago and in the suburbs are some of the highlights of the annual celebration of freedom. 

June 19 marks Juneteenth, the true day of liberation in 1865 for the remaining enslaved African Americans, who were notified of their freedom on that date in Galveston, Texas.

Here are some Juneteenth celebrations planned in Chicago and beyond:

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, 212 N. Sixth St., Springfield: A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln is on display through July 6. Admission: adults $15, kids 5-15 $6; presidentlincoln.illinois.gov.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s rare, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s rare, signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, 10406 S. Maryland and 1900 W. Jackson: The ninth annual Juneteenth celebration kicks off at Malcolm X College. The Friday slate includes a caravan parade route outlining the Great Migration trail to the Pullman Porter Museum and a panel discussion. The Saturday slate, which takes place at the museum, includes music and vendors. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 2-9 p.m. Saturday. The event is free; facebook.com/events.

Juneteenth Jazz Celebration, New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 4301 W. Washington Blvd., 2 p.m. June 19: honoring historian and educator Haki R. Madhubuti with a performance by Isaiah Collier & The Chosen Few. Free; register for tickets at eventbrite.com.

Beverly/Morgan Park Juneteenth family festival and Black business crawl, 11000 S. Longwood Dr. and 2407 W. 111th St. (Beverly Arts Center): The event includes storytelling, art, drumming circles, food, and activities for kids, along with featured promotion of Black-owned businesses, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and noon to 3 p.m (BAC location), June 19. The event is free; facebook.com/events.

Chicago Architecture Center, Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 E. 67th: The Chicago Architecture Center is hosing their “Civil War to Civil Rights” walking tour highlighting Black soldiers who fought in American wars. 1 p.m. June 19. $30 cover charge; architecture.org.

CMPI Juneteenth Celebration, online: The Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative will host a virtual celebration of diversity in classical music coinciding with Juneteenth. The slate of performers will include composer Xavier Foley and bassist Joseph Conyers, 6:45 p.m. June 19. The event is free; app.mobilecause.com.

Eden Place Nature Center, 4417 S. Stewart: The Fuller Park venue will host a Father’s Day Juneteenth celebration, The picnic outing includes storytelling, and music from the 64th Street Drummers and the Nancy Green Team Performers, 1-3 p.m. June 20. The event is free; edenplacenaturecenter.org

Evanston’s Juneteenth Parade, 1801 Main, Evanston: This year’s parade, which has the theme “A journey towards real reparations,” kicks off at the Robert Crown Center and proceeds north on Dodge Avenue to Simpson Street, east on Simpson Street to the Morton Civic Center. 11 a.m. June 19. The event is free; cityofevanston.org.

‘Fred!,’ online: The SPAA (Speakers Publishers & Authors Association) Theater & Performing Arts Center will host “Fred!” a virtual musical celebrating the life and times of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, 7 p.m. June 19. $10 cover charge; eventbrite.com.

The Garfield Park 1865 Fest Coalition, 100 N. Central Park: The Garfield Park 1865 Fest Coalition will host a three-day festival celebrating Juneteenth while honoring Black military veterans and those currently serving. The slate of events includes Saturday cultural workshops and a Sunday live gospel concert. Garfield Park Fieldhouse, Friday 2-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, Music circle, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 18-20. The event is free. Registration for the military honors are available via Eventbrite.

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago Area and Northwest Indiana, Walgreens, 3405 S. King Dr.: The scouts are hosting a Chicago Neighborhood Walk in Bronzeville. The event will include a walk along the Bronzeville Hall of Fame along with food and snacks. 10 a.m. to noon. June 19. $2 cover charge. Internet registration ends June 16; activecommunities.com.

Harold Washington Cultural Center, 2701 S. Martin Luther King Dr.: The center partners with M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Bronzeville businesses for an in-person Juneteenth celebration including dance, DJ and live music, food, workshops, raffles, art and children’s activities. 1 p.m. June 19. Admission is free. Visit maddrhythms.com.

Jerk 48, 611 E. 67th: The jerk eats restaurant is hosting a block party with free food, a bounce house, giveaways and games, along with music provided by Chosen Few DJs member Wayne Williams. 2-5 p.m. June 19. The event is free; instagram.com/jerk_48.

Juneteenth BBQ & Ride, Ellis Park, 3520 S. Cottage Grove: Streets Calling Bike Club’s celebration kicks off with a bike ride that ends at Mandrake Park, 3858 S. Cottage Grove, where a march, a barbecue, music, food, and games will take place. 11:30 a.m. June 19. The event is free; instagram.com/p/CQI8wPGtx4L.

Juneteenth yoga class, 1618 E. 53rd: A Black-owned studio, YogaSix, is offering a Juneteenth yoga class. All proceeds will go to a social justice nonprofit or the DuSable Museum of African American History, 10 a.m. June 20. Suggested $10 donation; yogasix.com.

Suzanne Harris
The Original Chicago Blues All Stars Revue

Old Town School of Folk Music, online: The school presents a free stream of “Freedom Songs Juneteenth Celebration” featuring the Original Chicago Blues All Stars Revue, which includes members of blues great Willie Dixon’s band. The evening begins with singer-poet Ugochi and the Afro Soul Ensemble. Livestreams at 8 p.m. June 19. The event is free; oldtownschool.org.

My Block My Hood My City Juneteenth Celebration, Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd: MBMHMC will host a COVID-19 vaccination truck offering free vaccines, voter registration, free food and music via DJ. 1-4 p.m. June 19. The event is free; formyblock.org.

South Shore Brew Coffee + Pride Juneteenth 2021, 7101 S. Yates: The South Shore-based coffee shop will provide merchandise, music via DJs, a special menu, and pop-up shopping options. 8:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 19. The event is free; instagram.com/southshorebrewchicago/.

South Side YMCA Community BBQ, 6330 S. Stony Island: local residents are encouraged to bring their grill, food, and drinks, while music will be provided via DJ. Noon to 4 p.m. June 19. The event is free; ymcachicago.org/southside.

Chicago Red Stars’ Juneteenth game, Seat Geek Stadium, 7000 S. Harlem, Bridgeview: Chicago’s NWSL team is hosting a pregame expo ahead of their game vs. Washington Spirit. The event — highlighting Black-owned businesses and nonprofits — is in conjunction with local organizations My Block, My Hood, My City; Chicago Votes; and Black Fires, a Chicago soccer supporters’ group. 7 p.m. June 19; Tickets starts at $20; chicagoredstars.com/juneteenth.

The Woodlawn, 1200 E. 79th: The Chatham eatery and event space will host a Juneteenth Block Party featuring guest DJs, spoken word poetry, comedy, and light refreshments, Noon-10 p.m. June 19. The event is free; thewoodlawn1200.com.

Contributing: Mary Houlihan

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