Commemorate Juneteenth Season. Come together online to witness powerful stories, performances, rhythms and songs. Juneteenth 2021 is a practice of reminding and remembering, re-grounding and regrouping. There’s a reason Juneteenth is reunion season. We reconnect, retell old stories, and revive our relationships.
Juneteenth is said to be the oldest African American celebration of emancipation from slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, but news of emancipation moved slowly. For the next 2½ years, enslaved Africans and Black abolitionists persevered in the struggle for freedom.
In Texas, formerly enslaved Africans celebrated their emancipation on June 19, 1865, and since then, Juneteenth has been remembered and celebrated as a holiday. From the late nineteenth century through today, typical Juneteenth celebrations across the country include parades, speeches by African American community leaders, singing of traditional songs such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and dancing.
Online events and videos
All live virtual events will have ASL interpretation and all recorded programs will have captioning. Register for one, some, or all of the programs through the links below. Registration ends at the scheduled start of each program, and links to join live programs will be emailed to registrants.
All programs are funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
Bloodline With Journey Productions
Sunday, June 13, 3-3:45 p.m.
Journey Productions has created “Bloodline” – an innovative, progressive showcase that explores contemporary issues of systemic racism, identity and triumph through song, dance and spoken word. It’s a piece that pulls you in, keeps you there, and moves you. Join us for the live premiere of this work and Q&A with Journey Productions. Register today or Ask Us.
If you’re not able to join the live event, watch the recorded virtual program anytime from June 13-19 on Hennepin County Library’s YouTube page. Let us know about your experience viewing the video with this short survey.
Juneteenth Stories With Auntie Beverly
June 13-18, 5:30-5:50 p.m.
Join Auntie Beverly every day this week as she reads or tells stories about Juneteenth. There will be stories of celebration and achievement, of liberation and self-determination, as well as freedom and family. Register today or Ask Us.
Sunday, June 13, 6-6:30 p.m.
Passed Presents is made up of Alicia Steele and Jayanthi Kyle who practice deep connection to each other and their remarkable Black ancestors through voice and song. Passed Presents is inspired by the spirit of loving and caring for our water and feel called to share and sing the stories they’ve been holding as we’ve been separated through the pandemic. Register today or Ask Us.
Dewbert Speaks on Juneteenth: Storytelling With Nothando Zulu
Monday, June 14, 6-6:30 p.m.
Master Storyteller Nothando Zulu will take the audience on a journey with Dewbert – a 100-year-old who remembers many Juneteenths. Register today or Ask Us.
The Undefeated With Black, Bold, and Brilliant Youth
Tuesday, June 15, 6-6:45 p.m.
Youth from Black, Bold, and Brilliant will use the book “The Undefeated,” original rap, poetry, song and movement to talk about Juneteenth as a freedom that was fought for and won by Black people through resistance, rebellion and perseverance. They will incorporate battle cries in reference to revolutionaries and freedom fights such as the German Coast uprising, Robert Smalls, and others. Register today or Ask Us.
In the Beginning… With Wisdom Young
Wednesday, June 16, 6-6:45 p.m.
Wisdom Young will serve as a griot on a journey through stars and water, through Ancient Africa, the Maafa, slavery and freedom – utilizing poetry, music, sound and story. Young will investigate the connections and significance of the scholarship of ancient Africa in reference to the study of astronomy, and the significance of water in relation to life and Black bodies. The community will be invited to participate by writing lines in relation to water, freedom and an object, smell, or sound that comes to mind when they think of Juneteenth. Register today or Ask Us.
Rites of Passage with WE WIN Institute
Thursday, June 17, 6-6:30 p.m.
WE WIN will give a cultural presentation on the significance of Juneteenth where youth will perform African dance and drum, recite program rituals, and share important facts about Black Americans. This program will be streamed live by WE WIN Institute on Facebook.
Regrounding With VOICE of Culture
Thursday, June 17, 7-7:45 p.m.
VOICE of Culture is a Black family sharing and creating West African rhythms and movements with a Black American twist. Witness a demo of the rituals that VOICE of Culture Drum and Dance practice around reconnecting, centering and bonding with ancestors, family and the universe. Register today or Ask Us.
VOICE of Culture will be distributing “Regrounding Kits” in June. Check VOICE of Culture website for more information.
Black Flowers: How to Regrow Black Joy After 2020
Friday, June 18, 6-8 p.m.
Join members of the Black Table Arts Co-op for an evening of poetry, performance and panel on Black joy, regrowth, grief and imagination. This event will center and uplift Black people, Black artists and Black voices. Register today or Ask Us.
Reflection and Connection: Community Art Event With Million Artist Movement
Saturday, June 19, 2-4 p.m.
Join Million Artist Movement for an intergenerational community art-making event to culminate the 2021 Juneteenth celebrations. Through the process of creating art together, Million Artist Movement will create a space for the community to connect with each other and to reflect on the themes, stories and dreams of this year’s Juneteenth performances. There will be three activities to choose from: making quilt squares, dance, and theatre/storytelling. For the quilt square activity, kits will be available to pick up ahead of time at Hosmer, North Regional, or Webber Park libraries between June 1-18. Register today or Ask Us.
Juneteenth Meal With Mama Sheila
Commemorate Juneteenth Season. Sheila Brathwaite, local chef, discusses what Juneteenth means to her then shares about her restaurant Mama Sheila's House of Soul, a family-style soul food restaurant in South Minneapolis filled with beautiful Black music and ambiance. Watch this recorded virtual program anytime from June 13-19 on Hennepin County Library’s YouTube page.
Juneteenth Story Strolls
Commemorate Juneteenth Season. Hike from page to page reading “Black is a Rainbow Color” by Angela Joy while you stroll on the trails near Theodore Wirth Beach area. Read and reflect on “Juneteenth for Mazie” by Floyd Cooper at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and “The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander at North Commons Park.
Presented in collaboration with Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and the Juneteenth Community Board. Let us know about your experience with this short survey.
These are just some of the many ways to celebrate Juneteenth in the Twin Cities! Check the Minneapolis Parks Juneteenth website for information on how the parks are celebrating Juneteenth this year.