Campus & Community

Celebrate Juneteenth 2024 in Boston

MCB Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, enslaved individuals in Texas were informed that slavery had been abolished, two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Declared an official holiday in the Commonwealth by Governor Charlie Baker in 2020, and a national holiday in 2021 by President Joe Biden, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Simmons will observe Juneteenth on Wednesday, June 19.

Boston offers a variety of ways to celebrate Juneteenth, involving art, music, dance, food, and a shared remembrance of the history of slavery and freedom. Here are some key events:

Juneteenth Joy Celebration at Hyde Park, June 15, 10am–3pm. Register to attend the annual celebration in Hyde Park, which features food trucks, vendors, and live music. 

Black Wall Street: Lecture by Muqeedah Salaam, June 15, 2pm–3:30pm at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library. Listen to local speaker, Muqeedah Salaam, describe the successful and wealthy community of Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, also known as “Black Wall Street,” and how it was destroyed in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. 

The Power of Truths: Cinematic Chronicles of Racism and Resistance, June 15, 2pm–4pm, Boston Public Library (BPL), Central Library in Copley Square. In honor of Juneteenth, visit the BPL for a free film screening and panel discussion in partnership with Self-Evident Education and the National Parks Service: Boston. The program will include screenings of two short documentary films produced by Self-Evident Education: If You Cross This Boundary, We All Die, about Ellen and William Craft's journey of self-emancipation from Georgia to Boston and beyond; and Freedom's Battle at Christianathe story of the Christiana Resistance of 1851. The screenings will be followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A with the filmmakers. Register in advance for the Power of Truths.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra Juneteenth Concert, June 15, 4pm. Landmarks Orchestra, in collaboration with Castle of Our Skins, celebrates Juneteenth at the Kroc Center. This concert will celebrate the works of iconic Black composers, featuring works from Florence Price, William Grant Still, and Jessie Montgomery, performed by the Castle of Our Skins String Quartet, violinist Maxwell Fairman, and soprano Brianna J. Robinson.

Culinary Instruction: Celebrating Juneteenth, June 17, 6pm–7:30pm, Boston Public Library, Roxbury Branch. Join BPL Chef in Residence Glorya Fernandez, the chief culinary instructor and executive officer of Gogobytes, as she makes black-eyed pea fritters.

Songs and Stories (Juneteenth), June 18, 10:30am–11:30am, Boston Public Library, West End Branch. Join us this week for an extra special song and story time to celebrate Juneteenth.

Embrace Ideas Festival, June 18–20. This festival’s theme, "A Celebration of Black Art, Culture, Joy & Excellence," brings together artists, public scholars, and local and national leaders unified by an anti-racist vision. While conference keynotes require a ticket purchase, the Friday Block Party is free to attend.

Juneteenth at Boston Harbor Islands, June 19. Visit Georges Island & the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center for live music, story time, history tours, and an exploration of Black History in Boston.

Juneteenth Open House at the Museum of Fine Arts, June 19, 10am–5pm. Tickets available in person on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free with a valid Massachusetts zip code. Visit local artists at the Art Fair with Mission Hill Main Streets, enjoy a free guided tour, and catch Drag Story Hour with Arabella Ladesse!

Hella Black Trivia, June 20, 6:30pm–7:30pm, Boston Public Library, Grove Hall Branch. Hella Black Trivia was created in 2015, with trivia questions crafted with the African Diaspora in mind.

Roxbury Film Festival, In Person, June 20–28; Online, June 27–July 2. The Roxbury International Film Festival is the largest festival in New England that celebrates people of color. The festival is led by BIPOC women and run by volunteers, screening all genres of films over the course of 10 days.

Reggie Hue — Concerts in the Courtyard Series, June 21, 12:30pm–1:30pm, Central Library in Copley Square. Join BPL for a hip-hop performance as part of the Friday lunchtime concerts that feature local musicians playing a range of genres.

African Wrap Doll Workshop, June 27, 5pm–7pm, Boston Public Library, Grove Hall Branch. Ms. Debra and Ms. Tam from the National Black Doll Museum will show participants how to make an African Wrap Doll using fabric, yarn, recycled bottles, and a variety of fabric trimming. All materials will be provided. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. This is an all-ages program.

Hidden Histories: Juneteenth, June 27, 6:30pm–7:30pm, Boston Public Library, Roslindale Branch. Educator Muqeedah Salaam discusses Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Registration not required.

For a more comprehensive list of public Juneteenth events in the Boston area, visit the Meet Boston website.

Publish Date


Alisa M. Libby