Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth marks an important moment in American history, June 19, 1865, when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas first learned of their freedom, two and a half years after the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. On that day, Mayor General Gordon Granger came to town with General Order Number 3 and the news that the enslaved were free.
I have discovered only a few Juneteenth celebrations in Chicago, As a black content creator and events curator, I am so excited to share that this year, I have found and an abundant amount of events and things to do to commemorate this historic moment in our nation’s history! From black business crawls and bike tours to book pop-up shops and virtual concerts—here are the best 2020 Juneteenth celebrations and events taking place in Chicago.
Black Census Day in Celebration of juneteenth
Friday | June 19th | 7:00 p.m.
Instagram Live | Free
Be counted and take the census during Juneteeth of Friday, June 19th. When this country was founded, African-Americans were only considered as 3/5 of a person when determining government representation. This Instagram live session will feature music, blackness, and important details about the 2020 census. People fought to be recognized as whole human beings, let’s do our part to make sure they are counted. Take the census and stream the event live on WGCI’S Tone Kapone’s Instagram.
Roll N Peace 5: Juneteenth Celebration
Friday | June 19th | 4:00 p.m.
63rd and Halsted | Free
Cycle with the Englewood community this Juneteenth. Think Outside Da Block will mobilize the community with a bike ride through the South Side. Roll N Peace is a community event that promotes wellness and decreases violence in the Englewood community. After the bike ride, stick around for a celebration of black life and excellence at Englewood Square at Engine Company 84 For more details and how to participate, visit the event page.
the Free black Children’s Library
Friday | June 19th | 1:00 p.m.
Harold Washington Cultural Center Parking Lot | 4701 S Martin Luther King Dr. | Free
Celebrate black art and illustrators this Juneteenth with The Free Black Children’s Library summer pop-up series. The Free Black Children’s Library Pop-Up initiative is to get high-quality black children’s books in the hands of all children in Illinois and the surrounding areas. The event will feature free black children’s book giveaways, free food, live performances, and more. For full event details on this family-friendly event, visit the Instagram page.
Black People Eats Juneteenth RESTAURANTS Celebration
Friday | June 19th | Time Varies
Location Varies | $6.19 offers will vary by location
Celebrate Juneteenth with food and drinks specials from 70+ Black-owned restaurants in Chicago. These restaurants feature specials that will only be $6.19 to commemorate this special day and to drive the dollars back into the black community in Chicago. Check out the website, Black People Eats for a full list of participating restaurants.
Million Man March Chicago
Friday | June 19th | 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
701 S State St | Free
Join the black Chicago community for Juneteenth, a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. March for Us 2020, is a million man inspired march that will take place through downtown Chicago. The march will start in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood and move towards downtown to Daley Plaza. For more details, and to participate in the march, visit the event page.
Chicago Peace And Equality Juneteenth Rally & Celebration 2020
Friday | June 19th | 6:00 p.m
South Loop Green Space | 2400 S State St. | Free
March for justice and equality this Juneteenth in Chicago. The peaceful demonstration will feature celebrity guests and community leaders marching for change in America. Collectible Juneteenth t-shirts and masks will be available for the first 1,000 people to participate. For more details on this event, visit the event page.
Juneteenth Car Parades
Friday | June 19th | 11:00 a.m.
Location Varies | Free
This Juneteenth, join communities on all sides of the city for a series of neighborhood car caravans and parades in Chicago. Join hundreds of black people citywide to celebrate the historic holiday. Pick your nearest location, bring your flags, good energy, and black power as we ride through the city together celebrating this important day of emancipation. Click the images below for the car parade taking place nearest you.
A Juneteenth Concert with the rEBUILD foUNDATION
Friday | June 19th | 5:30 p.m. CT
Online | Free
Explore the sound of liberation this Friday during Juneteenth with Experimental Sound Studio and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The Juneteenth concert will feature words and performances by artists Meagan McNeal, Krista Franklin, Rebuild Poet Laureate avery r young and Rebuild DJ-in-Residence Duane Powell. The celebration will commemorate 155th anniversary of the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans. All proceeds will benefit the Tamir Rice Foundation This virtual concert will be filmed in the presence of the gazebo and broadcast online.
Juneteenth Block Party: The Woodlawn
Friday | June 19th | 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
The Woodlawn | 1200 E 79th St. | Free
Celebrate Black culture and community with a Juneteenth block party at The Woodlawn. The Avalon Park-based venue will host a family-friendly block party featuring virtual DJs, an outdoor movie screening, games, performances and more. For more details on this event and what to expect, visit The Woodlawn’s Instagram page here.
A New Freedom: Black Voices Honoring Juneteenth
Friday | June 19th | 6:00 p.m.
Online | Free
Tune into a virtual concert of music and spoken word featuring alumni of the Chicago Children’s Choir. ‘A New Freedom: Black Voices Honoring Juneteenth in a Time of Struggle.’ The concert is curated by Lonnie Norwood, CCC Englewood Neighborhood Choir & In School Conductor, Tramaine Parker, CCC Alumna and Mark Myers, CCC Associate Artistic Director. Livestream the concert on Friday, June 19 at 6 p.m on CCC’s Facebook and YouTube.
Juneteenth bar & RESTAURANT Crawls
Friday | June 19th | Time Varies
Location Varies | Free
Support Black-owned businesses in Chicago during Juneteenth with a business crawl through your favorite neighborhoods. Choose a pre-planned route or create your own. Visit black-owned restaurants, retail shops, and more this weekend in Chicago. Click on the images below for details to each Juneteenth black business crawl nearest you.
As I share in my Black History Month celebration posts every year, celebrating culture and history is not limited to just one month or holiday. You can celebrate and support African-American culture throughout the year by doing several things:
- Shop Black-owned business
- Dine at Black-owned restaurants
- Recognize and empathize with the African-American issues by being an ally in the fight for equality.
There’s probably more but here are a few of my suggestions, from one cultural seeker to another. Share and celebrate by downloading the social media friendly guide to Juneteenth events in Chicago here.