Juneteenth 2024

About Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln emancipated enslaved Africans in America, Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas with news of freedom. More than 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom by executive decree in what became known as Juneteenth, or Freedom Day. With the principles of self-determination, citizenship, and democracy magnifying their hopes and dreams, those Texans held fast to the promise of true liberty for all. 

In 2021, Juneteenth was established as a federal holiday, opening it to symbolic and global interpretation and providing a better understanding of the evolution of our nation and its people. Juneteenth celebrations then, like now, recognize the ongoing fight for human rights and equality and are commemorated through family cookouts, faith services, musical performances and storytelling. Today, Juneteenth celebrates African American resilience and achievement while aiding in the preservation of those historical narratives that promoted racial and personal advancement since Freedom Day. 

The celebration isn’t over! Check out the local community programming continuing these next coming days and weeks in celebration of Juneteenth:

Black Sunday

When: May 8 – June 29, 2024

Where: TimeLine Theatre Company

Developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective, this world premiere by Dolores Díaz offers a startling look at the conflicts surrounding climate change, race, and gender in the days leading up to an infamous dust storm known as Black Sunday.

Native Son

When: May 10 – June 30, 2024

Where: Lifeline Theatre

Suffocating in rat-infested poverty on Chicago’s South Side during the 1930s, twenty-year-old Bigger Thomas struggles to find a place for himself in a world whose prejudice has shut him out. 

The Prodigal Daughter

When: May 16 – June 22, 2024 

Where: Raven Theatre

In the Red Summer of 1919, Chicago’s Black Belt is boiling over, from both the ruthless heat and the intensifying racial conflict gripping America. 

The Salon

When: June 8 – July 28, 2024

Where: Black Ensemble Theater

Through music, dance and shared experiences, the salon will explore black legacy, black excellence and hair like never before seen!

1619: The Story of A People

When: June 15 – June 30, 2024

Where: Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre at Noyes Culural Arts Center

From the beginning of American slavery to Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Era, and modern movements for justice, 1619 packs generations of history into an amazing musical theater experience that traces the African American journey toward freedom and equality.

Measure of A Man

When: June 15 – June 26, 2024

Where: Perceptions Theatre

Measure of a Man is an examination of a pivotal moment in American history, offering both a tribute to Chairman Fred Hampton’s legacy as one of the youngest and most prominent leaders of The Black Panther Party.

BIPOC Playfest

June 21 – 30, 2024

Where: Perceptions Theatre

Presented as part of Rhino Fest 2024 featuring plays that highlight different lived experiences from different perspectives and voices in the Black community. 

Ladies Ring Shout 2.0

When: June 22  – June 23, 2024

Where: Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University

Ladies Ring Shout 2.0 focuses on themes critical to Black women and femmes’ lives such as representation, love and relationships, scars/trauma, work-life balance, quality of life, nurturing and parenting, spirituality, healing, and defining our communities of care. 

Juneteenth Illinois

When: June 22, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.

Juneteenth Illinois, a collaborative of Illinois organizations, civic groups, and state and local sponsors, has several educational panels planned for June 22 at Malcolm X College. These include topics such as health, justice, education and finances. There will also be bingo event and youth competition. Those interested should RSVP online.

Celebrating Freedom and Entrepreneurship: Juneteenth Food Truck Festival

When: June 22, noon-4 p.m.
Where: Chicago Urban League, 4510 S. Michigan Ave.

The vibrant celebration includes food trucks, a DJ, bounce house, gaming truck, face painting and community vendors.

The Black Aura: A Celebration of Black Liberation

When: June 28, 4-9:30 p.m. 

Where: Kehrein Center For The Arts, 5628 W. Washington Blvd.

Being held the weekend between Juneteenth and Independence Day, this celebration from the Kehrein Center for the Arts will feature performances, documentaries, workshops and more that highlight the “aura of Blackness.” Those interested should RSVP online. Tickets are free or $25 with valet parking. Beer and wine tickets are $7 and $10 respectively.

Juneteenth 2024: A Conversation on Structural Inequality with Dr. Andre Perry

When: 9-10 a.m. June 28

Where: Online via Zoom

Andre Perry will discuss race, structural inequality and economic inclusion in a conversation moderated by Paulette R. Dodson, the former General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Alight, Inc. and United Way of Metro Chicago Board Member. Those interested should register for the event online

Learn more about Juneteenth here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/juneteenth