How Philadelphia is celebrating Juneteenth this year

Friday’s celebrations will take place amid more than three weeks of civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

2019 Juneteenth Parade

The 2019 Juneteenth Parade makes its way down 52nd Street in West Philadelphia, where it was held for the first year after moving from Center City. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

Philadelphians are preparing for a unique Juneteenth celebration — one set against the backdrop of continued public outcry over racial injustice and police brutality.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, first learned they were free. The occasion occurred more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 2019, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a law designating June 19 as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day” in the Commonwealth. Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday similarly established Juneteenth as a city holiday.

This year marks the 401st anniversary of the arrival in Virginia of the first ship carrying enslaved Africans.

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Philadelphia is among many major cities that commemorate the abolition of slavery with parades and festivals.

Friday’s celebrations will take place amid more than three weeks of civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Philadelphia, like other metropolitan areas around the country, has been home to a steady stream of protests regarding racism in the U.S.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of this week’s events will be virtual.

Here’s a breakdown of how Philly will be marking the day:

Juneteenth with the Museum
The Museum of the American Revolution’s virtual event will explore the ongoing struggle for equality for all. (Juneteenth with the Museum)

Juneteenth with the Museum
Host: Museum of the American Revolution
When: Friday 9 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Where: Online
Facebook event

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The museum will mark the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth — the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the country — and will explore the continuing struggle for equality. The event will feature the one-woman show “Freedom on the Horizon” with historical interpreter Nastassia Parker on Facebook Live, an Instagram Live Q&A with the museum’s Manager of Gallery Interpretation, and more.

Everybody Eats Juneteenth Food Drive
Host: Cooking for the Culture

Cooking for the Culture, a collaborative dinner series that celebrates Black culinary professionals, will be offering hot meals and other essentials at two pop-up events. Those interested in helping the cause can donate, volunteer or drop of supplies here.

Where: Universal Daroff Charter School, 5630 Vine Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19139
When: Friday at 11 a.m.

Where: Hank Gathers Recreation Center, 2501 N. Diamond Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19121
When: Friday at 4 p.m.


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❤️🖤💚don’t mind us, just coming thru to shake the table ❤️🖤💚 . . . it’s NOT over – we are actually just getting started and WE WILL NOT, WE CANNOT STOP until we are felt whole heartedly. we are popping up at two locations Friday, June 19. we will be in West Philly again with lunch & essentials and then taking it to the heart of North Philly for a real live [& safe] #juneteeth celebration. HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that has helped us make this happen, we are excited to help our communities during these unprecedented times. PLEASE comment, like & share to help us get the word out, all pertinent info is on the next few swipes. . . . #everybodyeats #everybodyeatsphilly #everybodyeatswest #everybodyeatsnorth #fortheculture #giveback #popup #cooksfortheculture #juneteenth #blacklivesmatter #georgefloyd #breonnataylor #rayshardbrooks

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Black Lives Matter Fashion Protest
Host: World of Grandeur
When: Friday 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Liberty Bell
Tickets: $1 – $5
Facebook event

World of Grandeur is showcasing a Black Lives Matter runway and performance art protest. The show will begin at the Liberty Bell and travel along a portion of the underground railroad. Before the runway show, a series of artists will perform. The march concludes at the Liberty Bell Center.

Juneteenth Virtual Roundtable for Justice
Host: For Our Future Pennsylvania
When: Friday 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Zoom
Facebook event
Register for event

During a town hall with Rep. Chris Rabb, For Our Future Pennsylvania will discuss what steps the Pennsylvania Legislature could take to reform the criminal justice system.

Host: Black Lives Matter Philly
When: Friday 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: Malcolm X Park, 5100 Pine St. Philadelphia, Pa.
Facebook event

The Philadelphia chapter of Black Lives Matter will celebrate Black joy, freedom and resistance with food, music, marching and dancing. Organizers describe the event as a Black-only space. Masks and physical distancing are encouraged.

The Do More Campaign Juneteenth Festival
Host: The Do More Campaign
When: Friday 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: 401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, Pa. 19121
Facebook event

The Do More Campaign is hosting a community festival and day of action in East Fairmount, featuring a cookout and voter registration drive.

Juneteenth: Seeding for Self-Determination
Host: The Black Experience in Cannabis, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana and DACO
When: Friday 7 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Where: Online
Tickets: $5
Facebook event

The virtual cannabis education and celebration event will feature a DJ, live music, history, vendors, workshops, panels and prizes.

MakeBlackCount: 2020 Census & the Black Community
When: Friday 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: 121 S. Broad St., 6th Floor, Philadelphia, Pa. 19107
Host: Urban League of Philadelphia and Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement
Facebook event

An in-depth conversation with Philadelphia influencers about why the 2020 Census is so important for the African American community. Also, a celebration of the history and resilience of Black people across the world.

Juneteenth 2020 Virtual Festival: Celebrate the Diaspora!
This Juneteenth, the AAMP will celebrate the diaspora with artists, scholars, activists and more. (AAMP)

Juneteenth 2020 Virtual Festival
Host: African American Museum in Philadelphia
When: Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Online
Facebook event

This Juneteenth, the AAMP will celebrate the diaspora by showcasing performances, fun activities and public dialogues for all ages that highlight current and historic African diasporic connections across the globe.

2020 Virtual Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival
Host: Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival and Historic Germantown
When: Saturday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Online
Facebook event
Zoom Login

An online festival will kick off at noon Saturday on Facebook Live and Zoom, featuring dramatic presentations, a Juneteenth Q&A, panel discussions and more.

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