Juneteenth, a national holiday marking the end of slavery in the United States, is Sunday.
Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, news of liberation reached 250,000 enslaved people Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, the Smithsonian Museum says.
Today, Juneteenth — the combination of “June” and “nineteen” — is a federal holiday that's celebrated throughout the D.C. area and beyond. Juneteenth has been called a second independence day. Experts tell News4 it’s a day for activism, learning about Black history and joy — often observed with picnics and red foods.
“Juneteenth gives us a time every year when we can come together as a community — and this is all people, all Americans,” Kelly Navies, an oral history specialist with the National African American Museum of History and Culture, said.
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She had advice on how to celebrate the true meaning of Juneteenth.
“Learn about the history. Pass it on to the young people. Celebrate and honor people who have come before us. And look to the future, to push forward and continue to make progress," she said.
John Taylor Chapman, an Alexandria, Virginia councilman and founder of Manumission Tours, agrees to keep history in focus.
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“Juneteenth should be a day that we focus in on the contributions of early Africans and African Americans to this region,” Chapman said. “People gave their time and their sweat and their blood to build up our communities.”
Festivals, events, panel discussions and more will celebrate the holiday throughout the D.C. area.
Juneteenth Activities and Events in Washington, D.C.
National Museum of African American History Juneteenth Public Programs
1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20560
Through June 20
The National Museum of African American History is hosting a variety of panels, including “One Year Later: Juneteenth for All Americans,” a discussion on the social and historic complexity of the Juneteenth holiday.
From Friday, June 17 to Monday, June 20, the museum’s Sweet Home Cafe will feature Chef Ramin Coles’ special Juneteenth menu, including whole hog barbecue, Louis Armstrong-themed red beans and rice, cherry cobbler and other dishes. Visit the cafe from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for these time-honored traditional dishes.
On Monday, June 20 from 3 to 4 p.m., two-time Grammy-nominated trumpeter, Alphonso Horne, and the Gotham Kings will perform New Orleans-style jazz music for all ages.; RSVP here.
“Reframing the Narrative” Ballet Performance
June 14-19, show at 7:30 p.m.
The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW, Washington, D.C.
The Dance Theater of Harlem, Ballethnic Dance Company and Collage Dance Collective come together to perform multiple programs and display the rich history of Black dancers in ballet. Tickets start at $29.
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi at Sixth & I
Wednesday, June 15, 7 p.m.
Sixth & I, 600 I St NW Washington, D.C.
MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and #1 New York Times bestselling author of “How to Be an Antiracist” speaks about his new book, “How to Raise an Antiracist.” Tickets start at $18.
"Red Velvet" at the Shakespeare Theater Company
Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, July 17
Michael R. Klein Theatre (450 7th St NW, Washington, D.C.)
The Shakespeare Theatre Company is welcoming Red Velvet to its stage, a performance celebrating a pioneering black actor who prevailed in his career even in the face of social injustice. The award-winning show is written by Lolita Chakrabarti and directed by Jade King Carroll. It has a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission, and ticket prices vary.
National Archives: Juneteenth Family Day and Emancipation Proclamation Display
Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW
Family Day on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The National Archives Museum will display the original Emancipation Proclamation and General Order No. 3 documents from June 18 to 20. The museum will also host “Juneteenth Family Day” including author book talks, crafting and activities, a panel discussion and a musical performance.
The Museum will be open for extended hours of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Juneteenth weekend. You can reserve timed-entry tickets or walk in at any time with free admission to view the documents.
The Third Annual Juneteenth Half Marathon & 10k
Fort Stanton Park, 1820 Erie Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20020
June 18th, 5:30 a.m.
Runners will once again run along the Civil War Defenses of Washington Trail with distance options of a half marathon and 10k. The early Saturday morning run includes a tricky trail with dirt and elevation. Register to run for free or volunteer support by Friday, June 17.
Juneteenth Freedom Festival
The Juneteenth Foundation, a nonprofit created to promote the holiday and celebrate Black excellence, according to its founders, has planned a weekend of events.
On Thursday, the Juneteenth Honors 2022 Red Carpet Awards Show will go on at the Warner Theater. Freedom Fest will feature a welcome message and Black-owned vendor shops at Franklin Square Park in D.C. on Friday.
The Bl@ck Party DC: Juneteenth Celebration
Sunday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Black Lives Matter Plaza, Washington, D.C.
This event will spotlight speakers, organizations, activists and artists of color in the DMV. The community celebration will include a drum circle, music, dance, yoga and meditation. The event is free to the public.
Afro Soca Love: DC Juneteenth Black-Owned Marketplace + Afterparty
Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m. to Monday, June 20, 3 a.m.
Karma (2221 Adams Pl NE, Washington, D.C.)
A marketplace of Nlack-owned businesses by day will transition into an afterparty by night at the Afro Soca Love & Love Tribe Supply Store’s Juneteenth celebration. The event will take place at the D.C. music venue Karma and feature a variety of food vendors, a photo booth, Djs, giveaways and more. Everyone in the family is invited to enjoy “the good vibes of the community,” however the afterparty is strictly for those 21 and over.
Doors will open on Sunday at 11 a.m. and tickets are required for entry. Ticket prices range between $5 and $10.
Ase: Afro Frequencies
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Interact with art that celebrates the Black experience with The Ase: Afro Frequencies at ARTECHOUSE DC. The exhibit, created by artists Vince Fraser and Ursula Rucker, draws inspiration from different perspectives within the Black community to create a question-provoking audiovisual experience.
General admission tickets cost $25, however, discounts are available for designated age groups, military personnel and first responders.
Juneteenth Freedom Day Music Festival
Sunday, June 19, doors open at 5 p.m.
Union Stage, Washington, D.C.
Hosted by WPGC-FM’s Nori Nori and Dj Akademiks, this festival highlights several emerging artists in the D.C. area and provides a family-friendly event. Tickets start at $35.
"Something in the Water" Music Festival
June 17-19, 2022
Independence Ave, Washington, D.C.
This festival is sure to be a highlight of the Juneteenth weekend in the D.C. area. Pharell Williams hosts the event taking place on Independence Avenue which boasts a star-studded lineup including Ashanti and Ja Rule, 21 Savage, J Balvin and Chloe X Halle. The remaining 3-day passes start at $399.50, with an option to donate to Yellow, Pharell’s non-profit for education support.
BlkArthouse exhibition: “Televised Revolution: Working Towards Criminal Justice Through Art”
Exhibit through June 19
The Ven at Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. (2015 Massachusetts Ave NW), plus virtual
This art exhibition features artwork by artists of color who are incarcerated, formerly incarcerated or have been affected by the U.S. criminal justice system. The exhibit aims to help connect viewers with those incarcerated and educate on the role of underpaid prison labor in American production.
Juneteenth Observances and Events in Maryland
Prince George’s County Juneteenth Hybrid Festival
Watkins Regional Park (301 Watkins Park Dr, Upper Marlboro, Maryland)
June 18, 12 to 5 p.m.
Visit Watkins Regional park for this free family event featuring arts and crafts, live music, puppet shows, a scavenger hunt and artifacts and murals on display. The hybrid festival also features a virtual genealogy workshop on the same day with a keynote address from former Peace Corps volunteer Frazine K. Taylor. Go to the festival on Saturday, June 18, or register to attend the Zoom workshop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2022 Juneteenth Black Business Expo
Saturday, June 18, noon to 6 p.m.
The People's Community Baptist Church (31 Norwood Road, Silver Spring, MD 20905)
Enjoy live music, food, and other great experiences provided by Black-owned vendors and services at the Extraordinary Investment Group’s second annual Juneteenth celebration. Featuring over 40 vendors, the event will cater to people of all ages and is open to everyone in the community.
Second Annual Annapolis Juneteenth Celebration
Annapolis City Dock, Dock St, Annapolis, MD 21401
June 18, noon to 9 p.m.
This parade historically begins at at the Annapolis City Dock, home to the Alex Haley memorial and a designated “UNESCO Middle Passage Site of Remembrance,” indicating the waterfront’s past as one of the region’s earliest slave ports.
The parade then turns into a festival at Bates Athletic Complex with live music and a “Freedom Way display” from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m, followed by a fireworks show. Admission to the parade and festival are free.
Juneteenth Sisterhood Supper
Saturday, 2-6 p.m.
The Well at Oxon Run
Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA) and women-led organizations are celebrating Juneteenth by “ bringing attention to African American food culture and food justice east of the river.”
Attendees can contribute to a community cookbook and help fight food injustice, organizers say.
Juneteenth: Freedom Day Celebration
National Harbor, Oxon Hill, Maryland
June 19, 2 to 4 p.m.
The National Harbor presents a Juneteenth celebration at the Plaza stage, with performances by the Prince George's County Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate, local dancers and live music.
Juneteenth Entrepreneurship - Q
7600 Allendale Circle, Hyattsville, Maryland
June 19, 1 to 7 p.m.
Designed to support Black entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses in the Hyattsville area, the outdoor business expo will feature networking opportunities, business knowledge, and tools and services to help expand businesses.
To check out the local businesses Hyattsville has to offer, register for this Sunday event.
Juneteenth Observances and Events in Virginia
Steps Toward Freedom: A Juneteenth Remembrance
The Secret Garden at the Rectory, 711 Princess St., Alexandria, Virginia
June 16, concerts at 5 and 6:30 p.m.
Classical Movements and the Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts present “Steps Toward Freedom: A Juneteenth Remembrance,” an outdoor concert featuring spirituals, songs, storytelling and dance. You can enjoy this performance with a Juneteenth cocktail on Thursday, June 16th, with concerts starting at 5 and 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.
Fauquier County Juneteenth 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Main Street, Warrenton, Virginia
June 18, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Attend this event to see all-day performances from jazz bands, gospel choirs, a live DJ and an African dance troupe. The event also features a rap contest, a “Mr. and Ms. Juneteenth” contest, a sweet potato pie contest, Black history education and vendors. RSVP here.
Juneteenth Celebration at Ida Lee Park
Ida Lee Park, 60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg, Virginia
June 18, noon
The “BURG” Family Reunion Club returns with their second annual Juneteenth Celebration at Ida Lee Park. The event will include performances by musical acts including the Chuck Brown Band and the Howard Harmonizers, food and product vendors and a voter registration booth. There will also be a school supply drive to help support African-American students that attend Frederick Douglass Elementary School in Leesburg, Virginia.
Admission cost the day of will be $15 at the gate for attendees 12 and older, children 11 years and younger are admitted for free.
Celebrate Juneteenth at Frying Pan Farm Park
2709 West Ox Road in Herndon, Virginia
June 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Families are invited to learn about the history of Juneteenth and celebrate African American stories and traditions Saturday at Frying Pan Park. This free event includes guest storyteller Diane Macklin, musician John G. Lewis, crafts and food trucks.
Juneteenth Event at Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park, McLean, Virginia — Lower Picnic Area
June 18, 7:30 p.m.
At Great Falls Park, visitors can enjoy an outdoor movie screening of “Summer of Soul,” the Oscar-winning documentary on the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. Visitors of all ages can bring blankets or lawn chairs and their own snacks to view the film. Admission is free.
Sully Car Show Juneteenth Tribute
3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly, Virginia
June 19, 10 a.m. 3:30 p.m.
The Sully Annual Car Show will feature information this year about Juneteenth and little-known Black inventors and patent holders in the history of the transportation industry. Visitors can view over 200 antique cars on display. Pre-registration will be available online until June 16, walk-ins are also accepted.
Juneteenth Celebration with Vocalist Tomika Arnold
Duncan Branch Library, 2501 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria, Virginia
June 19, 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.
On their lineup of Juneteenth events, tours and celebrations, Alexandria will host a concert celebrating Black music featuring D.C. native vocalist Tomika Arnold. The performance of gospel, R&B and blues music begins at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 19 with free admission.
African Americans at Walney Walking Tour
5040 Walney Rd, Chantilly, Virginia
June 19, 4 to 5 p.m.
This tour takes you through the history of African American families who lived and worked at Walney. The tour is free, but advanced registration is required.
A Juneteenth Celebration with Thee Phantom and the Illharmonic Orchestra
1151 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia
June 19, 6 p.m.
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts hosts Thee Phantom and the Illharmonic Orchestra, a lineup of celebrated Black orchestral musicians from across the country performing a medley of classical works and Hip-Hop hits. Tickets start at $27.