This weekend Americans across the country will be celebrating Juneteenth, an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. The name Juneteenth comes from the date June 19th, 1865 when the last enslaved people in the United States learned that they were free. It is also referred to as “Juneteenth Independence Day”, “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day”. In the past Juneteenth was celebrated yearly by African American families with prayer services and traditional foods according to Washington University. Today Juneteenth is recognized as a national holiday and it is celebrated amongst families and communities with food, festivities and supporting local Black-owned businesses. We’ve compiled a list of events honoring Juneteenth this weekend in NYC.
Celebrate Juneteenth this weekend in Brooklyn at the 14th Annual Juneteenth Festival. The theme for this year is “Kaleidoscope of Black Culture”. This 3 day festival starts on Friday, June 16th. Attendees will get to watch a variety of performances including music, dance, poetry, skits, and history lectures.
Support Black women in comedy at this annual festival that aims to spotlight the incredible talent and perseverance of Black women in the comedy space. This event takes place at several iconic comedy venues like Don’t Tell Mamas, St. Mark’s Comedy Club, and more from June 14th to June 18th. Event organizers say this year’s festival embodies intersectionality and unity, as it coincides with Juneteenth.
Green-Wood is hosting a free event on Saturday, June 17th where families can learn more about Black history with self-guided tours. The ASNEAA Community Legacy Project will also be providing free art activities for attendees to participate in.
Bring your family and friends to the Juneteenth celebration at Seneca Village on Saturday, June 17th at 10am. This event is free and offers programs hosted by the Harlem Yoga Studio, Emotions Physical Theatre, and more. The various activities offered will encourage movement and creativity to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.
On June 17th and June 18th the Weeksville Heritage Center will be hosting the 2nd annual Juneteenth Food Festival hosted by Black-Owned Brooklyn. This year the food festival will feature 29 food vendors that will offer traditional African American cuisine as well as dishes from different Caribbean and African countries.
Battery Park will be hosting its 7th annual Juneteenth Celebration with a family-friendly afternoon filled with history, art and music on Saturday, June 17th. The Federation of Black Cowboys will be there to share the history of African American culture and heritage in the West. In addition, there will be lessons on horsemanship and riding. Children the age of 3 years or older will get the chance to experience a pony ride.
Celebrate Juneteenth through art at the Brooklyn Museum on Sunday, June 18th from 2pm-6pm. The Juneteenth Jubilee’s programming includes activities that celebrate community, self-expression and Black liberation. The events for the day will feature Black performers, artists, and Black-owned businesses.
On Saturday, June 17th The Museum of the City of New York will be hosting a concert by jazz vocalist and musician, Queen Esther. The highly esteemed singer will perform selections from her expansive discography of alt-country, jazz and Black Americana.
Rooftop Films return for the summer season screening independent films all across the five boroughs. For the Juneteenth weekend Rooftop Films will screen Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro’s “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes” in Von King park. This screening will help jumpstart the centennial celebration of the great jazz drummer, Max Roach, who grew up in Bed Stuy just a few blocks away.