(Image via The Philadelphia Tribune)
By Chanel Hill
Community events, concerts and a parade are just some of the activities that will be taking place Sunday in Philadelphia to celebrate Juneteenth.
“Juneteenth is the celebration of freedom,” said Tamara Staley, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Juneteenth Family Inc. “The holiday was first celebrated in Texas with food, music and dance. Today, we continue with that tradition not just locally, but nationally.”
On June 19, 1865, Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and enslaved African Americans were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth since the late 1800s, but it didn’t officially become a federal holiday until last year.
Congress passed The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in June 2021, a day after the Senate passed the bill with unanimous consent. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on June 17 — two days before Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is the first new national holiday since President Ronald Reagan named Martin Luther King Jr. Day a holiday in 1983.
Staley said that through Juneteenth, she’s hoping more people will educate themselves about their history.
“A lot of people still don’t know what Juneteenth is, so I want people to really take a deeper look into their Black history and that starts at home with parents,” Staley said.
“We need to start telling our children at an early age that they come from kings and queens from Africa and tell that story all the way up to modern times,” Staley added. “We each have a responsibility to educate as many people as we can about our culture.”
List of events taking place Sunday:
Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade and Festival
Time: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Parade starts at North 52nd Street & Parkside Avenue
This year, attendees can head to West Philadelphia for a parade that includes nonprofits, dance groups, schools, floats, bands and more. The celebration continues at Malcolm X Park with local merchants, food vendors, art exhibits and COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.
Catch a performance of “The Four Harriets,” exploring the lives of Harriet Robinson Scott, Harriett Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and visit the exhibit “Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality.” Kids and other creatives can author and illustrate their own Black history books. Admission is free. Visit constitutioncenter.org.
Juneteenth Block Party
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: African American Museum, 701 Arch St.
This block party promises live performances, a community marketplace featuring Black-owned businesses, hands-on activities, line dancing, and more. Museum admission is free with online registration. Visit aampmuseum.org.
Time: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic
Children and their parents can learn about traditions of Juneteenth with performance artist Thembi Palmer; attend story time with Gail Ramos, author of “Hooray! It’s Juneteenth Day”; and watch a performance from the West Philadelphia high school marching band and majorette dancers. Tickets are required. Visit pleasetouchmuseum.org.
Juneteenth Celebration at Bartram’s Garden
Time: 12 to 5 p.m.
Location: 5400 Lindbergh Blvd.
The West Philly garden’s first-ever Juneteenth celebration will feature live DJ sets, storytelling, poetry performances, live percussion, a vendor marketplace, community resources, and a live art installation.
An Abolitionism Walking Tour of Laurel Hill
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.
Location: Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Ave.
This walking tour will recognize those who fought to end slavery by hearing and telling their tales of the struggles and courage. Visitors are asked to RSVP to this free event to reserve a spot. Visit thelaurelhillcemetery.org.
Black Music City
Time: 1 to 5 p.m.
Location: World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St.
The 46 recipients of the Black Music City grant unveil their artistic works inspired by Philadelphia’s Black music history at this free arts showcase that features live music performances, photography, video, painting, sculpture and fashion. Visit BlackMusicCity.com.
Juneteenth at the Hatfield House
Time: 2 to 5 p.m.
Location: 3201 W. Girard Ave.
This free family-friendly celebration includes refreshments, live DJ music, kids’ activities and games, face-painting, and giveaways.
Barnes on the Block
Time: 4 to 9 p.m.
Location: The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This event will feature art displays, family-friendly art-making, live performances, food trucks, a beer garden and more. When the sun sets, a coalition of West Philadelphia fathers, activists and artists will project an outdoor public art installation onto the facade of the Barnes Foundation. Admission is free, but online registration is required. Visit barnesfoundation.org.
Celebrating the Legacy of Emancipation
Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: African American Museum, 701 Arch St.
Founder of the Black Panther Party, author and activist Bobby Seale will appear in a panel discussion with local NAACP Chapter president and publisher of the Philadelphia Sun Catherine Hicks. Tickets are required. Visit www.aampmuseum.org.
Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.
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