Jazz at the Woodmere Museum, children’s programs at the Please Touch Museum, historical re-enactments and more.
On June 19, 1865, nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to free the country’s remaining slaves. These days we know the date as Juneteenth. Often referred to as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” the holiday is marked by lively celebrations, games, music, and a chance to learn about African-American history.
In 2020, Pennsylvania finally added official statewide observance of Juneteenth, but Philly celebrated long before that. Philly institutions from history Johnson House to Philadelphia African American Museum are celebrating and the parade returns to West Philly. Here’s how to honor the vacation on the town.
Social History at Second District Brewing
Black History Specialist will host a short talk that explores the legacy of the holiday, followed by interactive activities and giveaways. Free, pre-registration required; food and drinks are chargeable. Free, June 16, 6-7:30 p.m., Second District Brewing, 1939 South Bancroft Street.
June 19 Dinner at Awbury Arboretum
Chef Gail Hinson shares cuisine inspired by Reconstruction-era cooks, plus plant-based cocktails by Debra Autrey. The evening also includes live performances by spoken word artists, poets, re-enactors and musicians. $45, June 16, 6-9 p.m., Francis Cope House, 1 Awbury Road.
Laurel Hill Cinema at Cemetery: Glory
In collaboration with the Philadelphia Film Society, Laurel Hill Cemetery is bringing back its Cinema in the Cemetery series, where patrons can pack a picnic and watch a movie outdoors surrounded by historic graves. This month they celebrate Juneteenth with a screening of the classic Civil War drama Glory. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $10-$20, June 17, 8 p.m. (doors 7 p.m.), Laurel Hill Cemetery, 3822 Ridge Avenue.
June 16 Weekend at the Museum of the American Revolution
Throughout the weekend, learn about the black soldiers of the Revolution through gallery lectures and hands-on experiences. Visit the Children’s Discovery Center downstairs with your very own Rhode Island Regiment cap, learn about the life of Polydore Redman with a historical re-enactor, and take a walking tour Philadelphia ($10) by abolitionist James Forten, created for their next special exhibition on Forten and his descendants. Free for museum members and children under 5; $13-$19 for general admission (add $10 for walking tour), June 18-20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South 3rd Street.
City Athletics Block Party in Tioga-Nicetown
This free community event will include a BBQ, live music, games, horseback rides for kids and other entertainment. Free, June 18 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 19 and Tioga streets.
Juneteenth Family Pride Picnic
This child-friendly event organized by Philadelphia Family Pride will focus on and celebrate Black LGBTQ+ families, history, vendors and artists with free food, entertainment and resources. Free, June 18, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Lovett Park, 6945 Germantown Avenue.
Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival at Johnson House
Held in historic Germantown, the festival, now in its 16th year, is one of Philadelphia’s oldest June 16 celebrations. Johnson House Historic Site, which also served as an essential stop on the Underground Railroad, hosts a day of events including tours, re-enactments, live music, food trucks and children’s activities. The event is free and offers attendees the chance to learn about Philadelphia’s important role in African American history during the 1800s. Free; June 18, 12-6 p.m., Johnson House Historic Site, 6300 Germantown Ave.
Juneteenth at the National Liberty Museum
The celebration kicks off with a performance of Positive Movement drumline. Next, the museum hosts a kid-friendly comic book workshop celebrating real-life black superheroes, and a resource center showcasing local black-owned businesses and black-led organizations. Additionally, artist Zsudayka Nzinga will lead tours of her installation afro bohemian, featured in NLM’s current special exhibition “This is My Home”. All activities are included in admission to the museum. $6-$12 (free for ages 5 and under), June 18, 1-5 p.m., National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street.
Saturday Night Jazz at the Woodmere Art Museum
While Woodmere hosts weekly Saturday night jazz performances throughout the summer, this special celebration on June 16 will include an entire afternoon of music, dance and poetry. First, the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble will perform songs by By the river, I wish I knew what it means to be freeas well as extracts from the jazz opera, never back down. Then, watch performances by the Universal Drum and Dance Ensemble and poetry readings by Yahne Ndgo and Shirmina Geneva. Arpeggio will close it with another performance. The event is free and open to the public, and you can stop by at any time. Free, June 18, 2-5 p.m., Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue.
June 19 Parade and Party
The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. at 52nd and Parkside with bands, dance groups, floats and more. Then, head to Malcolm X Park for the festival, which features food vendors, a market, and more activities, including the Everybody’s eating the party. The celebration extends to the Global Leadership Academy parking lot, where you’ll find a children’s village with carnival, face-painting, games and more. Free, June 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., begins at 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue and ends at Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine Streets) for the festival.
Betsy Ross House’s Flag Fest Celebrates Juneteenth
The Betsy Ross house joins the celebration of Juneteenth on the last day of Flag Fest. At 10 a.m., Betsy will raise the 13-star and Juneteenth American flags, and visitors will “meet” Henry “Box” Brown — nicknamed because he escaped slavery by hiding in a box shipped to Philadelphia from Virginia. Then, at 3 p.m., there will be a Juneteenth concert with the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale. Free, June 19, 10 a.m.-3:45 p.m., Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street.
Juneteenth Block Party at the African American Museum in Philadelphia
This all-ages all-day party features live performances – including Talib Kweli, dancers and griot storytellers – as well as food trucks, a community market with black-owned businesses, creative art , line dancing, etc. Additionally, as this is also the kick off for Wawa Welcome America, the museum will be offering free admission all day (online registration required). Free, June 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., African American Museum of Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street.
Juneteenth at the Please Touch Museum
PTM has planned a full day of programming that is both educational and engaging. Kids can enjoy themed crafts and activities, performances by Thembi Palmera at 1 p.m. and the West Philadelphia High School Marching Band at 2 p.m.; plus a storytelling session with Gail Ramos, author of Hooray! It’s June 16th! All activities are included with museum admission; online reservations required. $22 ($2 for ACCESS cardholders); June 19, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue de la République.
June 16 Celebration at Bartram’s Garden
West Philly’s first-ever Garden June 19 celebration will feature live DJ sets, storytelling, poetry performances, live drumming, a vendor’s market, community resources and a live art installation. Free, June 19, noon-5 p.m., Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard.
Juneteenth at Hatfield House
This free, family-friendly celebration includes refreshments, live DJ music, children’s activities and games, face painting and giveaways. Free, June 19, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., 3201, avenue Girard Ouest.
Barnes on the block
The Barnes Foundation takes it outdoors with art exhibits, home-made art, live performances, food trucks, beer garden and more. Once the sun has set (8:30 p.m.), We embrace fatherhood, a coalition of fathers, activists and artists from West Philadelphia, will project an outdoor public art installation on the facade of the Barnes Foundation. The West Philadelphia-based photographer’s project Ken McFarlane is called From Root to Fruit: Portraits of Black Fathers and Their Children, and celebrates black fatherhood. The museum also offers free admission that day (online registration required). Free, June 19, 4-9 p.m., Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
This guide contains additional research by Wyld Young.