The Brooklyn calendar is full this year for a Juneteenth with a celebratory mix of events that offer summer enjoyment along with some food for thought.
The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the day when news of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. While Black Brooklynites of the 19th and early 20th centuries often held celebrations on or near January 1 when the proclamation was officially released, by the late 20th century Juneteenth had evolved into a national, rather than just regional, celebration of the African American family, freedom, and achievement.
Texas was the first state to declare it a public holiday in 1980. It was established as a commemorative day in New York State in 2004, became an official public holiday in the state in 2020, and a federal holiday in 2021.
With the official Juneteenth holiday falling on a Monday this year, Brooklyn events are spread throughout the weekend. Check out the online info for each event for full details on the programs and how to RSVP.
14th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival
Linden Park, East New York
June 16, 17 and 18, 9 am to 6 pm
There will be some virtual programming on Friday, June 16, but the in-person celebration in Linden Park on Saturday will include performances, food trucks, vendors, a fashion show, and more. More programming in Prospect Park the following day will wrap up the three-day event.
Juneteenth Trolley Tour
June 17, 10 am to noon
Join historians Jeff Richman and Tiva Baloi, coordinator of public programs and education for a trip through the historic cemetery to recognize those who fought for emancipation and the civil liberties of Black Americans and have their final resting place at Green-Wood. Tickets, which are $30 or $25 for members, are required.
Wyckoff House Museum
June 17, 11 am to 3 pm
In celebration of Juneteenth, the historic farmhouse will be featuring themed activities for their monthly Farmhouse Family Day. There will be a fashion show, storytelling, self-guided activities, and a chance to help out with farm activities. They will also kick off the start of their farm-stand season with fresh vegetables and herbs for sale and goods from neighborhood vendors.
Kowteff’s 13th Annual Juneteenth Celebration
Bed Study Restoration Plaza
June 17, noon to 8 pm
Get moving with dance and fitness classes or take in a performance at the annual celebration by the KowTeff School of African Dance. There will also be an African marketplace, a natural hair show, and activities for children and seniors.
We Outside! A Brooklyn Juneteenth
The Plaza at 300 Ashland
June 17, noon to 8 pm
The plaza will be filled with music, art, performances, and a Black maker’s market as 651 ARTS hosts its third annual Juneteenth celebration. In collaboration with The Soapbox Presents, the day is envisioned as a celebration of the cultural contributions of Black people with fun for all ages.
Rise in Spirit: A Juneteenth Celebration
Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park
June 17, 1 to 6 p.m
The family-friendly event at the newly restored historic house will celebrate the African diaspora with music, readings, dance, and a performance by the Asase Yaa Youth Ensemble. Educators will also be on hand with cooking demonstrations and games.
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festivals: Juneteenth UNITYFEST
Lena Horne Bandshell, Prospect Park
June 17, 7:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
The evening of music and storytelling, envisioned by Grammy-nominated African American artist Robert Randolph, will feature two Grammy-nominated artists, Joe and Stokley. The event will include an ASL interpreter on stage. Entry will be first come, first served, and while there will be a limited number of chairs available you are permitted to bring your own.
Juneteenth Food Festival
Weeksville Heritage Center
June 17 and 18, noon to 7 pm
Join Weeksville and Black-Owned Brooklyn for their second annual Juneteenth Food Festival with 29 Black food vendors serving up tasty fare from the diaspora. In addition to food, there will be goods from black-owned businesses, performances, hands-on activities and music.
June 18, 2 to 6 p.m
A day of celebration at the museum will include a performance by the Renegade Performance Group, music, art making, food and a curator tour. Souls in Focus, a Brooklyn collective, will also be on hand-taken portraits. The events happen throughout the museum, and registration for the free activities is required.