With ephemeral markets, film screenings, virtual conferences, dance evenings, etc.
Every year, Juneteenth commemorates the end of black slavery in the United States, specifically on the anniversary of June 19, 1865. Although Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation Abolishing Slavery in 1863, the news was suppressed in Galveston, Texas, where the enslaved peoples were not freed until 1865, marking the official end of this form of slavery in America. (Massachusetts was one of the first slates to abolish slavery, and did by judicial decree in 1783.) For over 150 years, the anniversary of the emancipation of black slaves has been celebrated on June 19 with food, music, dance, art and education.
For black Americans, Juneteenth is a day of culture, history and community, honoring the resilience, heritage and freedoms of their ancestors. Last July, Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation declaring Juneteenth an official state holiday. This year is the first time that it will be celebrated as such, and the legislation recognize it at national level is in progress. Organizations around Boston are observing Juneteenth throughout the weekend, with pop-up markets, film screenings, virtual lectures, dance parties, and more.
Black Feminisms Part I: Freedom Fête, a virtual celebration of June 15
On Saturday June 19, Freedom Fête’s virtual dance party will explore musical innovation as part of Black Legacy. DJs from around the world share music that celebrates the beauty and contributions of the African diaspora and keeps attendees dancing all day. The event is a fundraiser for three organizations: Boston Ujima Project, For the Gworls, and Activation Residency, all of which work to empower brown and black women and trans people in Boston, New York and beyond.
Free, Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., virtual, register on thetrustees.org.
Juneteenth @ Bow Market
In collaboration with Black Owned Bos. (a platform amplifying and supporting black-owned businesses), Somerville’s Bow Market celebrates Juneteenth with a showcase of black art and culture. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., shop at a retail bazaar featuring a variety of local businesses. Then stick around for a night of activations from other Bow Market vendors, including a “Spin Party” with vinyl and book deals and readings of novels, stories and poetry.
Free, Saturday 11 am-9:30pm, Bow Market, 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville; free tickets on eventbrite.com.
Juneteenth Boston: Black Joy
Hosted by the New Democracy Coalition in collaboration with the City of Boston, Juneteenth Boston celebrates black history, democracy and freedom. A three-hour event at Copley Plaza on June 19, featuring guest speakers and spoken word, will help solidify the June 15 celebrations as an annual tradition in Boston starting this year. And when Copley’s loudspeakers are over, the festivities move to Carson Beach in South Boston for an “after event” with music, food and more.
Free, Saturday June 19, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Copley Plaza, tickets available at masspeaceaction.org.
Juneteenth: Celebration of the MFA community
The Museum of Fine Arts’ free community celebration on Juneteenth recognizes the contributions of black artists and voices in the city of Boston. On Saturday, June 19, the MFA campus will be busy with guided art activities in the morning, Spotlight lectures focused on MFA artist in residence Rob Stull throughout the afternoon, concerts and an evening film screening. Admission to the museum is free throughout the day, so don’t miss the special exhibition “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation”, featuring works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and his peers.
Free, Saturday, 10 am-10pm, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, tickets available at mfa.org.
Virtual performance “Juneteenth: Opera in the Key of Freedom”
The North End Music and Performing Arts Center will honor Juneteenth (and NEMPAC’s 10th anniversary) with a virtual performance featuring music from a variety of black composers performed by leading black musicians in the Boston area. A live broadcast of the performance, which was recorded at the African Meeting House on Boston’s Black Heritage Trail, is free to everyone on June 19.
Free, Saturday, 12:30 p.m., virtual, book your tickets at nempacboston.org.
Miss Juneteenth Film screening at Loring Greenough House
The historic Loring Greenough House has served as a hub for cultural, educational and community activities on the Jamaican Plain since 2008 – and this year is no different. Every Friday evening this summer, the organization shows an outdoor film on the large lawn of the house. In honor of Juneteenth, LGH will present a successful Sundance Film Festival 2020, Miss Juneteenth, a drama about a single mother and former pageant queen who puts her daughter in a local Miss Juneteenth pageant. Reserve your ticket (the proceeds of which will be donated to LGH) and on Friday, June 18, take a seat in a comfortable and green place to enjoy the film.
$ 7, Friday, 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Loring-Greenough House, 12 South St., Jamaica Plain, eventbrite.com.
One night in Boston
Presented by the Roxbury Cultural District and King Boston (a Boston-based nonprofit named after Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, who met in Boston), One Night in Boston gives the kick-off of a weekend of events. On Friday June 18, Roxbury’s Nubian Square will come alive with musical performances, a film premiere and more. The night celebrates Black Music Month and will strive to make Juneteenth the first Independence Day of the United States, while setting the stage for discussions, panels, virtual dance parties and more throughout. long weekend.
Friday, 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., JazzUrbane Cafe, 2300 Washington St., Boston, tickets available at eventbrite.com.
June 10: Annette Gordon-Reed in conversation with Elizabeth Cobbs
Sponsored by King Boston, the Boston Athanæum hosts a conversation between historian Elizabeth Cobb and author Annette Gordon-Reed to discuss her book “One Juneteenth”. The book, which is partly a family chronicle (Gordon-Reed herself is the descendant of enslaved peoples), partly memoirs and partly history, explores the origins of Juneteenth and his legacies. The event will take place virtually, before the holiday weekend of Thursday, June 17.
Free, Thursday, 6-7 p.m., virtual, tickets available at bostonathanaeum.org.
The Black Matters Juneteenth experience
The Black Matters, a Boston-based clothing and accessories brand focused on starting conversations about race, wellness and healing, is hosting its first public event in honor of Juneteenth. On Saturday night at Cambridge’s Starlight Square public grounds, the free community celebration will feature live music from Cambridge artists, poetry, dance and more.
Free, Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Starlight Square, 84 Bishop Allen Drive LOT # 5, Cambridge; tickets available on eventbrite.com.
The launch: Pop-up Shop and After Party
The Hive, a collection of innovative retail and office buildings in Downtown Crossing, will transform the Seaport’s District Hall into a pop-up store featuring more than a dozen vendors (as well as food and drink, of course) . In the morning, head to the venue to network and shop at local black-owned businesses. Then stick around for the after party, which starts at 8 p.m. and features four guest DJs.
Free or $ 15 for the after-party, Saturday, 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., District Hall Boston, 75 Northern Ave., Boston tickets at eventbrite.com.
Premiere of the movie “The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae”
Written and directed by multidisciplinary artist Ifé Franklin, “The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae” is an experimental short film that follows a female slave named Willie Mae on her journey to freedom (additionally, it was filmed at Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford). On June 19, a screening of the film will be part of a day-long celebration at the Nubian Square Black Market in Roxbury. Preceded by a poetry reading, invocation of ancestors, a miniature slave cabin-building workshop, and more, the film will be the highlight of the affair throughout the day.
Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Black Market Gallery, Nubian Square, 2136 Washington St., Boston, ifarts.com.
Unfiltered: Forging Black Liberation in the 21st Century
A special edition of the Boston While Black’s Unfiltered conversation series will commemorate Juneteenth with a discussion of black liberation and freedom in collaboration with the Race Recovery Project. Virtual conversation panelists will discuss what freedom looks like in the present moment and how communities can approach liberation through economic, political and psychological lenses.
Thursday, 6-7:30 p.m., virtual; tickets available on eventbrite.com.