This coming Saturday is Juneteenth, the annual commemoration and celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to break the news the Civil War had ended and that all those who were enslaved were now free, according to Juneteenth.com. The Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two years prior by President Lincoln in 1863, however, there weren’t enough Union soldiers to enforce the order in Texas so it had little impact there. Juneteenth marks the triumphant day when slavery actually ended in all states.
This year marks the first official observation of the Juneteenth holiday in the state of Massachusetts after Governor Baker signed a bill last July calling for the establishment of June 19, Juneteenth Independence Day, as an official state holiday and there are plenty of celebrations going on in around The Hub. Here are 8 ways in which to celebrate and honor Juneteenth in Boston this year.
Mentoring Murals focuses on amplifying the importance of mentorship in maintaining a vibrant Black arts community, celebrating the Black mural movement’s past and present in Roxbury and Dorchester, and supporting Greater Grove Hall Main Street in the economic and community development of the Grove Hall area. This week they’re celebrating the unveiling of a new mural, “No Strings Detached,” by Paul Goodnight and Larry Pierce, and those interested can join in the festivities and listen to Goodnight and Pierce talk about their latest collab!
When: Wednesday, June 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: 345 Blue Hill Ave, Boston.
2. One Night Boston: A Celebration of Juneteenth, America’s Original Independence Day & Black Music Month
One Night Boston is returning to Nubian Square in Roxbury this coming Saturday, June 19. King Boston has partnered up with BAMS Fest, Boston Children’s Chorus, Boston Ujima Project, Boston While Black, Jazz Urbane, Project STEP, and Roxbury Cultural District to launch One Night in Boston, a weekend of festivities to mark Juneteenth as America’s original Independence Day.
This year, One Night Boston will take place on Friday, June 18, and the evening will include musical performances as a film premiere and will also double as a tribute to Black Music Month and part of All-Inclusive Boston. I you miss out on the movie premiere, there will also be additional screenings on Saturday and Sunday.
When: Friday, June 18, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Nubian Square, Roxbury, MA.
To celebrate Juneteenth, the Museum of Fine Arts has organized a day full of activities including workshops inspired by their ongoing Basquiat exhibit, music performances, a special screening of Summer of Soul, directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and more! The MFA will also be offering special transportation between the museum, the National Center for Afro-American Artists, and Blair lot in Nubian Square, where you’ll be able to enjoy free activities, performances, music, and more as part of the premiere of Ifé Franklin’s film The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae.
When: Saturday, June 19, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Museum of Fine Arts Boston
4. 11th Annual Juneteenth Emancipation Observance
Boston’s 11th annual Juneteenth Emancipation Observance will be airing on Saturday, June 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Boston Neighborhood Network Community TV or register to watch the whole ceremony online.
When: Saturday, June 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.
Where: Boston Neighborhood Network.
This 30-minute outdoor interactive experience will honor the many ways that Africans who were enslaved subverted dominant practices of worship to connect with God, community, and nature.
Curated and facilitated by New Roots AME Church in collaboration with the MFA’s Juneteenth Celebrations, this immersive event will encourage you to dance, shout, weep, and welcome the Spirit of freedom as you move through Jubilee on Juneteenth.
When: Saturday, June 19, from 12 to 2 p.m.
Where: Museum of Fine Arts Boston
The Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club is teaming up with the Loring-Greenhough House for a special screening of Miss Juneteenth, a soulful drama about Turquoise, a single mom and former teen beauty queen, who enters her rebellious daughter Kai into the local Miss Juneteenth pageant.
When: Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Where: Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain.
This coming Thursday, June 17, the Boston Athanæum will welcome On Juneteenth author Annette Gordon-Reed for a special virtual conversation with historian Elizabeth Cobbs. A descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas in the 1850s, Gordon-Reed interweaves American history, a dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir in her book to recounts the origins of Juneteenth and explores the legacies of the holiday that remain with us.
When: Thursday, June 17, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Where: Online through Boston Athenaeum’s website
8. The Black Matters Juneteenth Experience
Hosted by Black Matters By Lizzle4 & Docteur Rose, this immersive experience will feature live musical performances from Cambridge artists, poetry readings, dancing, and giveaways, for a night in which to come together, celebrate, and heal as a community.
When: Saturday, June 19, 5 to 9 p.m.
Where: Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive LOT #5, Cambridge, MA 02139.
[Featured image: Shutterstock]