Juneteenth 2022 - Honoring Ancestors: Dreaming Forward

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.

This year, celebrations at Hennepin County Library will focus on the theme of ancestors, recognizing the contributions and legacies of local leaders. With support from community partners, programs will reflect on what has been passed down through the generations, even when the path ahead is unseen and uncertain. Program participants will be asked to dream of future generations and ask themselves, “what are we doing in our lives to become prolific ancestors?”

In-person and online events


Juneteenth Celebration
Sunday, June 12, 2-5 p.m. at Sumner Library

Poetry, dance, music, food, and storytelling! Performers include Auntie Beverly, Black Bold and Brilliant, Black Storytellers Alliance, Journey Productions, Million Artist Movement, Passed Presents, and We Win.

This program will take place outdoors. In the event of severe weather, the program will move indoors. 

Lights, Camera, Action: Talkback 
Tuesday, June 14, 6-7 p.m.

Journey Productions will present a talkback event centered around the theatric process of company artists. It will explore the spectacular artistic process of dance, song and spoken word. The talkback will address themes of identity as well as the journey one must take to find their voice and place in a society as a young artist. This shared space is to help stitch together the African American diaspora of theatric history by acknowledging those that paved the way for today’s community of young, gifted artists. 

Won’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now  
Wednesday, June 15, 6-7 p.m.

Wisdom Young will examine the role of Black women in freedom struggles, share an original related poem, and speak on the ways Black women have talked about freedom. Workshop participants will read, reflect and discuss the work of Black women and be prompted to write about where they find freedom and what freedom means to them. 

Lessons Throughout History With Nothando Zulu 
Friday, June 17, 6-7 p.m.

Nothando Zulu will share her wisdom! Speaking on Juneteenth, Reconstruction, and the Nadir, she will connect these historical eras with present-day events including stifled voting rights, equal access, and celebration of the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice. 

African American Genealogy 
Saturday, June 18, noon-1:30 p.m.

Genealogist and artist Mica Anders will introduce tools to begin your genealogical exploration, highlight uniquely African-American sources, and help you uncover the stories of your family to honor its legacy. 

Juneteenth Story Strolls 
June 14-20

Read and reflect as you hike from page to page in three Minneapolis parks: 

          North Commons Park, 1801 James Ave. N  
          Juneteenth: A Children’s Story by Opal Lee  

          Bottineau Field Park, 2000 Second St. NE  
          Family Reunion by Chad Richardson  

          Phelps Field Park, 701 E 39th St.  
          Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham 

Story strolls are presented in collaboration with Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and the Juneteenth Community Board. 

Book Lists

Lists of recommended books from Hennepin County Library’s Juneteenth Team: