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Celebrate Juneteenth! Local Festivities (& Reading List)

Juneteenth 2021

Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth is the day marking when enslaved people in Texas found out they were free two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The day is a celebration of freedom and Black cultural achievements, as we reflect on the past and build a more equitable future. Below is a list of local festivities and reading recommendations to explore this celebration of freedom.

Celebrate Locally

Collinsville Juneteenth Festival: Celebrating Freedom

Collinsville | Saturday, June 19th | Noon | Woodland Park

The Juneteenth Festival at Woodland Park in Collinsville will host free carnival games, music, vendors, free counseling information, and books from local authors. It will also feature a 3 on 3 basketball tournament.

Summer Family Fun Series: Step Into the Story with St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature

Missouri History Museum | Thursday June 24th |10:30 am

Listen to Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, make a craft or discover Black History through an interactive scavenger hunt.

Al Fresco Juneteenth: Celebrating Freedom

National Blues Museum | St. Louis | Saturday, June 19th | 11:30-8:30

Celebrate Juneteenth with all day Blues at the National Blues Museum! Renaissance Band, Sha & Her Ka’sha Band, Lady J Huston Show, and Marty D Spikener’s On Call Band will be playing. Bring a chair and stay and join the celebration!

Juneteenth Metro East Freedom in Equity Festival

Jones Park | East St. Louis | Saturday, June 19th | 9-6

The festivities will start off with the Juneteenth Motorcade, followed by a flag ceremony at city hall. The festival at the park starts at 11, which includes music, entertainment, kids activities, vending, and more!

Make Music Weekend

Delmar Loop | St. Louis | June 19th 11-8 | June 20th 1-6:30 | June 21st 1-6

This three day music & arts festival kicks off with the Juneteenth Market which features poetry, spoken word, essays, and songs about the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. Stay to listen to Mathew Foggy to speak on Hype the Stripe movement, a dance troop, vocal music, theatre, arts and design. The event will take place on June 19th at the Market in the Loop. For the rest of the weekend, be sure to catch headliners like the Slums STL, Red & Black Brass Band, and Master Blaster, along with many other performers!

Books about Juneteenth

Envisioning Emancipation Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer

Adult & Young Adult

Take a look at historical photographs and records from the 1860’s to see what emancipation looked like for newly liberated African Americans, including photographs of plantation workers, portraits of families, Black Union soldiers, and Juneteenth celebrations, and post-slavery reunions.

Juneteenth for Maizie by Floyd Cooper

Grades Preschool-2nd

Maizie wants the freedom to stay up late past her bedtime, but her father takes this opportunity to teach Maizie what freedom meant to their ancestors, specifically about the Juneteenth liberation. Learn along with Maizie and imagine the first Juneteenth Celebration.

Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story by Valerie Wesley, illustrated by Sharon Wilson

Grades 3rd-5th