A plethora of upcoming gatherings across metro Detroit will mark the 157th anniversary of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, an annual holiday to celebrate equal rights and the end of slavery in the United States.
On June 19, 1865, federal troops freed remaining slaves in Galveston, Texas, enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation more than years after its signing. It was months after the Confederacy had surrendered.
The day was officially recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.
Events will be held across southeast Michigan and include live music, films, food and opportunities to support Black-owned businesses and acknowledge what’s considered the longest-running African American holiday.
Here is a list of upcoming events to acknowledge and celebrate the holiday. Email [email protected] to add your event to the list.
June 3-30: Juneteenth Film Festival: The month-long film festival will run through the month of June with different films showing each week honoring Black actors and actresses, writers, directors and filmmakers, as well as showcasing films that present compelling stories on racism and Black history. Tickets are $5. All proceeds will go to UNCF. Participating cinemas include Emagine Royal Oak, 200 N. Main St. in Royal Oak and The Rivera Powered by Emagine, 30170 Grand River Ave. in Farmington Hills.
- June 10-16: School Daze (R) and The Best Man (R)
- June 17-23: Uncle Drew (PG-13) and Coming 2 America (PG-13);
- June 24-30: Just Mercy (PG-13) and Sorry to Bother You (R).
June 13-16: Juneteenth at Wayne State: Wayne State University will celebrate with a series events and activities across campus including a writing competition, voter registration drive and panel discussion. More at wayne.edu/diversity/juneteenth.
June 15-22: Southfield Juneteenth Celebration: Celebrations will include music, dance performances, a 2.5 mile walk, children’s story time, special appearances from Black Cowboy L.C. Caldwell and Tuskegee Airmen, food, games and more. Southfield Municipal campus, 26000 Evergreen Road.
6-10 p.m. June 16: “Summer of Soul” screening: The Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Motown Museum has partnered for a free outdoor movie screening of this Oscar Award winning 2021 documentary film directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which celebrated African American music and culture and promoted Black pride and unity. Campus Martius Park, 800 Woodward in Detroit.
June 16-18: Juneteenth Community Celebration and Liberty Fest: In addition to carnival rides, games, live entertainment, food and more, Canton Township and Jack and Jill of America have partnered to include a special Juneteenth celebration to include Motown favorites, opportunities to shop Black-owned businesses and more.
June 17-19: Juneteenth Freedom Weekend: The City of Detroit, Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance, Detroit Branch NAACP, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Juneteenth Jubilee, Detroit Means Business and Eastern Market Development Corporation have partnered for the following events:
- 6-10 p.m. June 17: Rhythm and Art Block Party at Eastern Market Brewing Company. 2515 Riopelle, Detroit.
- 12-6 p.m. June 18: Juneteenth Jubilee Stroll Livernois Avenue of Fashion will include more than 40 businesses in one of the oldest Black business districts in the country. Each participating store will provide a discount, giveaways and more for patrons. There will also be a live podcast, a kid’s village with activities, local entertainers, a health and wellness fair, local vendors, an artists’ hub and more.
- 12-6 p.m. June 19: Juneteenth Freedom Fest – Eastern Market Shed 5. Activities and programming will focus on all aspects of the African American experience with food, art, culture and history. Entertainment from the main stage will include local artists, spoken word and historical presentations. Internationally acclaimed and Detroit’s own Slum Village will be the headlining act.
June 17-19: Farmington Area Juneteenth Celebration:
- 8-11 p.m. June 17: Family movie under the stars.
- 12-6 p.m. June 18: Freedom celebration with food, activities and more.
- 3-4:30 p.m. June 19: Intercultural ancestral and collective healing events.
Nardin Park United Methodist Church, 29887 W. Eleven Mile Road, Farmington Hills.
June 17-19: Juneteenth – The Art of our Culture: Blackbird Gallery presents the exhibit “A day of Reflection” at the Fisher Building, 3011 West Grand Blvd., Suite 104, Detroit.
June 18-19: Juneteenth Jubilee Freedom Weekend:
- 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 18: The Charles H. Wright Museum will highlight the history of the holiday as well as a partnership with the Michigan Underground Railroad Exploratory Collective with an “Underground Railroad Treasure Hunt,” which features five historic sites around downtown Detroit including “The Gateway To Freedom Monument” in Hart Plaza and Second Baptist Church in Greektown, also highlighting black-owned businesses and job opportunities.
- 3 p.m. June 19: A concert at the museum entitled “Spirits Soar-Free!,” offering sights and sounds of musical performances from the 1860s to today.
June 18-19: Ypsilanti 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration: Hustle dance lessons, African dancers and drummers, poets, a jazz concert, comedy and more at the parking lot behind Puffer Red’s, 107 Ferris St. in Ypsilanti.
9 a.m.-3 p.m. June 18: A. Philip Randolph Institute Juneteenth Celebration: There will be educators, speakers, poets, musicians, dancers and voter registration/education during this celebration presented by APRI Detroit/Downriver. UAW Local 600, 10550 Dix Ave. in Dearborn.
10 a.m.-12 p.m. June 18: Dearborn Juneteenth Mobility Stroll and Roll Parade: Parade begins at Michigan and Schaefer and will include Dr. Martin Luther King Marching Band, Eastern Michigan University, Henry Ford College, University of Detroit, Bike Dearborn, Intercultural Community Center of Dearborn, Second Baptist Church Youth Group, Maple Drummer and more.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. June18: Juneteenth in the WB: There will be artisans, crafts, vendors, music, dance and refreshments at West Bloomfield High School, 4925 Orchard Lake in Bloomfield Township. Free.
11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 18: Juneteenth Family Health & Fun Day: This Highland Park event will offer health services and activities including lead testing, health screenings, childhood immunizations, a grocery tote giveaway, bounce house, DJ and more. 16455 Woodward Ave. in Highland Park.
12-8 p.m. June 18: Juneteenth Family Reunion: There will be food, Black vendors, live music, entertainment, free giveaways and more. Catalpa Oaks County Park, 27705 Greenfield Road in Southfield.
12-6 p.m. June 18: Madison Heights Juneteenth Celebration:
There will be live music, food trucks, educational exhibits, vendors, a rib grilling contest, petting zoo, children’s activities, art show, re-enactments by the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association of Detroit and more. Madison Heights Civic Center Park, 360 W. 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights.
12-2 p.m. June 18: Wesly Bennett Foundation Juneteenth Celebration: Food, square-dancing lessons, a rodeo and more. Leanna Hicks Public Library, 2500 Hamlin Drive in Inkster.
12-9 p.m. June 18 & 1-7 p.m. June 19: Jazzin’ At The Vanity: A free Jazz and Blues Festival in the Jefferson-Chalmers Business District will feature two live music stages, food, vendors, crafts, visual art, kids activities and more on Jefferson between Newport and Lakewood in Detroit.
12:30-3 p.m. June 18: Experience Culture-Unity in the Community Juneteenth Celebration: Register for this event that will include music, displays, presentations, step performance, steel pan instrumental, dance and food from Slows Bar BQ food truck.
1-5 p.m. June 18: Ferndale/Hazel Park Juneteenth Celebration: Enjoy an afternoon of art, music, poetry and food at Green Acres Park, 620 W. Woodward Heights Blvd.
3-7 p.m. June 18: 3rd Annual Juneteenth Community Celebration: The Healing Harvest presents this event that will include live entertainment, vendors, food, art and giveaways. Coleman Center, 35351 Beverly Road in Romulus.
10 a.m. June 19: Juneteenth/Father’s Day Trilogy Celebration: The Men of Freedom Trilogy worship service will include a special Frederick Douglass tribute performance by actor, dramatist and playwright Dexter Mays. Ebenezer AME Church, 5151 W. Chicago, Detroit.
12-6 p.m. June 19: Block Party Juneteenth: There will be games, karaoke, food, music and more provided by the Central Woodward Community Partnership. 9850 Rosa Parks Blvd. in Detroit.
12-8 p.m. June 19: The D Loft Juneteenth Celebration: There will be fashion, vendors and food trucks at Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols, Detroit.
1-3 p.m. June 19: Juneteenth United: A Black community tribute event to honor the day and fellowship united. Bring lawn chair or blanket. Food will be available for purchase. Fuerst Park, 45325 W. 10 Mile in Novi.
1-4 p.m. June 19: Dearborn Heights Juneteenth Festival: There will be a celebration of heritage, freedom and excellence of African Americans with live entertainment, food and more, 22201 Powers Ave. in Dearborn Heights.
1-6 p.m. June 19: Juneteenth Freedom: Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association will have a day of family fun with food, games, DJ and more at Russell Woods Park, Broadstreet and Leslie in Detroit.
4-6 p.m. June 19: Juneteenth: Fiber, Art and Culture: A panel discussion with the women of Common Bond, the Great Lakes African American Quilters Network and the African Bureau of Immigrant and Social Affairs at Global Detroit, 4444 Second Ave. in Detroit.
4-8 p.m. June 19: Juneteenth Celebration: This family-friendly celebration in Royal Oak will feature food trucks, games, free horse rides, book giveaway, health screenings, Father’s Day crafts, a scavenger hunt, roller skating, music and more. Centennial Commons, Troy and Third in Royal Oak.
Brendel Hightower is an assistant editor at the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at [email protected]