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Juneteenth
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A guide to this year's best Juneteenth events 2022

Commemorate and celebrate the ending of slavery in the U.S. with these jubilant events.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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It's time to celebrate Juneteenth 2022!

Juneteenth has been celebrated by Black Americans since the late 1800s, but in 2020, the holiday garnered renewed attention as Black Lives Matter demonstrators called (and still call) for meaningful policy changes following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers.

For the first time last year, NYC and New York made Juneteenth an official holiday. This year, it's finally a federal holiday.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is the celebration and commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought news to Galveston, Texas that the war was over and slaves were free (this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.) The celebration was coined "Juneteenth" and became a time for praying and for gathering with family. It became massively celebrated in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date, according to Juneteenth.com.

When is Juneteenth?

June 19 is on Sunday this year.

How will Juneteenth be celebrated this year?

The day has been celebrated more in Southern states with rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball, with a focus on education and self-improvement.

In 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order making it a holiday for state employees, and in 2021, it became a federal holiday.

New York City has so many ways to celebrate this year. Scroll down to see what these are.

Juneteenth at Time Out Market New York

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Black mixologists, their recipes and the long history of Black mixology will be the subjects of an intimate fireside chat—and inspire a special cocktail—at Time Out Market New York this month. To celebrate both Juneteenth and the release of A Comprehensive Guide to Black Mixology by Tamika Hall, the event will highlight Karl Franz Williams (owner of 67 Orange Street) and Colin Asare-Appiah, who will chat with Hall about their experiences, Black mixology, the influence BIPOC have had on the industry as well as how Black mixology came to be. Guests will also be treated to a cocktail demonstration and tasting of "Tings Are Just Peachy" by Williams, along with a signed copy of the book and recipe card to make the drink at home. 

The best Juneteenth events in NYC

Juneteenth/Freedom Day Celebration at Grand Army Plaza
Photograph: Shutterstock

Juneteenth/Freedom Day Celebration at Grand Army Plaza

Mayor Eric Adams and Council Members Farah N. Louis and Crystal Hudson are kicking off Juneteenth with a celebration and family-friendly event that will include spoken word performers, poets and musicians, including from Entertainers for Education Alliance/I WILL GRADUATE, Juneteenth NYC, Celebrating Unity in the Community, BHH Inc., Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), Ede Youth, Haiti Cultural Exchange, Global Kids, Brooklyn Public Library, A’ La Mode Experience, Creation Station Studio, Creating Unity in the Community, Inc., Diaspora Community Services (DCS), Jump-In Enrichment, Inc., Brooklyn Heritage House (BHH Inc.), Brooklyn United, Blue Angels Drumline, Brooklyn United Marching Band, RISE Project, SCO Family of Services, Freedom March NYC, Partners Uplifting our Sisters and Daughters (PUDS), KAN COBRA, SNAPSYNC and the 67 Precinct YCO’s.

It'll take place on Sunday, from 8-11:30am.

Greenwich House Music School (16 Jones St.) on Friday will host a free Juneteenth Jubilee with interactive performances that exhibit the cultural contributions of Black Americans with music, dance, puppetry, drag and ball, spoken word, double dutch, and storytelling. This free outdoor celebration from 4 to 5:30pm is for New Yorkers of all ages and hosted in partnership with The Soapbox Presents, Ars Nova, Little Mozart Foundation, and The Door.

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Soul of the City: Juneteenth with Martha Redbone Roots Project
Photograph: Filip Wolak/Museum of the City of New York

Soul of the City: Juneteenth with Martha Redbone Roots Project

Celebrate Juneteenth at the Museum of the City of New York on Friday at 6pm with a soulful acoustic performance by Martha Redbone Roots Project. Described by The New Yorker as a "brilliant collision of cultures," Martha Redbone Roots Project is a veteran trio featuring singer Martha Redbone, whose voice has "both the taut determination of mountain music and the bite of American Indian singing." This seated, outdoor concert is the culminating event of the Museum's Freedom Week: A Journey into Art & Activism and takes place on the Museum's South terrace. It's free.

Juneteenth 2022 at The New York Botanical Garden
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Juneteenth 2022 at The New York Botanical Garden

During the weekend celebration of Juneteenth 2022 at The New York Botanical Garden, visitors of all ages can enjoy hands-on gardening activities, crafts, cooking demonstrations, and more throughout the Edible Academy, which features the new African American Garden: Remembrance & Resilience. The weekend begins with a symposium, A Seat at the Table, which will explore how Black farming informs American history and culture in New York City and across the country. The symposium will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2022, from 10am-2pm in the Arthur and Janet Ross Hall. Juneteenth Weekend programs take place at NYBG's Edible Academy from Saturday, June 18 through Monday, June 20, 2022, noon-5pm.

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Juneteenth with Friends
Photograph: Shutterstock/Elzbieta Sekowska

Juneteenth with Friends

Little Caribbean NYC and Prospect Park Alliance are hosting a free night of fun with DJs Gab Soul and Khalil, a performance by Grammy-Award winning Angela Hunte, peer-to-peer games, food and more at the Boathouse + Audubon Center (101 East Drive) on Sunday (4-9pm). RSVP!

Juneteenth with New Settlement

On Saturday, June 18, at the New Settlement Community Center (11am), enjoy an array of free activities, including Juneteenth presentations, a barbecue, musical performances, carnival games, health screenings and more. In partnership with United Way and Council Member Althea Stevens, over 400 bags of groceries and fresh produce will also be distributed to community members. From 2pm-4:30pm, can enjoy a jazz concert presented by Music for the People NY, featuring music by the Edsel Gomez Trio. At 5:30pm, the fun-filled day will conclude with an exciting dance showcase by New Settlement’s Program for Girls and Young Women, which provides participants with a range of activities designed to build artistic, healthy living and leadership skills in a safe and supportive girls-only setting.

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On Saturday, June 18, Harlem-based composer/theater artist Troy Anthony’s NYC choir community, The Fire Ensemble, will host a liberation event for Juneteenth. Open to the public, the free concert is the culmination of the choir’s weekly rehearsal sessions at The Shed. The event is designed to meet people in their sorrow, revivals offer a path to salvation and joy through voice, live instruments and original songs written and curated by Anthony. Special guest, Adrienne Maree Brown (author of Emergent Strategy and Pleasure Activism) will give a sermon. It all begins at 7:30pm.

Juneteenth at Seneca Village
Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

Juneteenth at Seneca Village

Head to Seneca Village this Juneteenth for a family-friendly celebration of Black culture and accomplishment through music, storytelling, dance, poetry and more! This event (10am-2pm) offers an opportunity to not only consider the origins and meaning of this day, but to reflect on Seneca Village, a predominately African-American community that existed before New York City created Central Park and long before we celebrated Juneteenth.

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#March on Broadway Presents the Function: A Juneteenth
Photograph: courtesy of #MarchonBroadway

#March on Broadway Presents the Function: A Juneteenth

The two-time Gold Anthem Award-winning March On Broadway team reunites to bring you "The Function," a queer-centered concert celebration of the powerful Black history that is Juneteenth, featuring Black Broadway, TV, and recording stars from across the gamut, including Jaime Cepero, Courtney Daniels, J. Hoard, Alfonso Horne, Jay Jurden, Jaida Valenciaga & her band, Khalifa White and a Vogue ball performance by OTA (Open To All Entertainment). Audiences can expect to laugh, to learn, and to be a part of an overall atmosphere full of black joy. Co-hosted by Lucille Lortel Award winner Ianne Fields Stewart and Broadway comedienne Courtney Daniels. Tickets start at $25.

  • Art
  • Art

Juneteenth will be celebrated during The Big Mix, a three-week extravaganza that will run from June 16 through July 3. Each week, guests will experience a unique show that centers around and celebrates one of three summer holidays: kicking off with Juneteenth, then LGBTQIA+ Pride and Independence Day. 

The Big Mix – Juneteenth will play June 16-19 at 8pm and will be hosted by Tony and Grammy Award nominee Joshua Henry (Into the Woods, Waitress, Carousel), with performances from Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins (All My Children, Mother Courage and Her Children, Holler If Ya Hear Me), Mykal Kilgore (Motown: The Musical, The Wiz Live!, and Hair), singer-songwriter Chanese Elifé, and special acts including parkour artists Reap Genius & Falco, fire artist Sage Sovereign, dance performances from Step It Up/HANAC Secret Society Dance Company, choral performances from Vy Higginsen’s Sing Harlem Choir, and marching band performances by The Empire Marching Elite. Plus, newly commissioned work from Brinae Ali & Tamar-kali and new music by Jacinth Greywoode. Tickets are $25-$45.

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Don't miss this series of performances and events curated by Carl Hancock Rux, the award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, essayist and recording artist:
Juneteenth: Examined: Thursday, June 16 at 7pm
A Panel Discussion Led by Carl Hancock Rux
At Harlem Stage
Free
At Park Avenue Armory
Free
At Lincoln Center
Free

The Broadway League’s Black to Broadway Initiative presents the second annual Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth concert, a free outdoor event centered around Black artistry and community. Black performers and allies from a variety of Broadway shows will perform their own works of art accompanied by live music provided by The Music Performance Trust Fund. In addition, the event will welcome notable guest speakers to celebrate this momentous day. 

This 90-minute concert is open to all and takes place at Duffy Square in Times Square (Broadway between 45th & 47th Streets) on Sunday, June 19, noon–1:30pm (rain or shine). 

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Juneteenth Celebration at Battery Park City
Photograph: courtesy of Battery Park City Authority

Juneteenth Celebration at Battery Park City

Battery Park City Authority's 6th annual Juneteenth Celebration returns this year on Saturday 2-5pm with a family-friendly afternoon of education and celebration. Members of the Federation of Black Cowboys will share a brief history of Juneteenth while bluesmen Michael Hill, Jerry Dugger, Junior Mack and Bill McClellan lead a Juneteenth Jam. Attendees will also have the opportunity to sing-along to songs of the Underground Railroad and the American Civil Rights Movement's Freedom Riders, make their own Juneteenth flag and greeting card, and kids 3 years old or older can take a pony ride.

Juneteenth at the Museum of the Moving Image
Photograph: courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image

Juneteenth at the Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image is celebrating Juneteenth with a weekend of game design, animation and an open mic for all ages, June 17–19. Come dressed in your most festive outfits for a chance to be crowned Mx. Juneteenth on Sunday, June 19 at 5pm at the Moving Image Open Mic, where anyone can share a poem, song, or dance that connects with the themes of Juneteenth (RSVP to perform in advance). (To be considered for the Mx. Juneteenth crown, visitors are invited to post a video or GIF of themselves at MoMI on TikTok or Instagram with the hashtag #JuneteenthAtMoMI.) All weekend long, admission is free for kids 12 and under.

The Princess and the Frog will screen on Friday, June 17, at 2:15pm and Sunday, June 19, at 1 and 3pm. Tickets (free for ages 12 and under) include general Museum admission and access to all Juneteenth events. Make sure to drop into the Moving Image Studio so you and your family can green-screen yourselves into a fantasy world inspired by The Princess and the Frog. You'll learn how to design a game that takes the player on a magical adventure into a Black utopian future or create a collage animation that reimagines Black history. Hours are Friday, 2-5pm and Saturday–Sunday, 1-5pm. Families can also participate in a scavenger hunt that connects civil rights to the history of the moving image in the core exhibition, Behind the Screen.

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A Juneteenth Celebration

Hang out with MOFAD & The Africa Center on Friday (3-8pm) at The Plaza at The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall for an afternoon that'll celebrate and support the vibrant, rich history, and strong tradition of African Americans through the first-of-its-kind exhibition celebrating the countless contributions of Black chefs, farmers, and food and drink producers who have laid the foundation for American food culture. RSVP for free admission.

REPARATIONS! A Juneteenth Celebration of Black Improv Comedy
Photograph: Asylum NYC / Sydney Duncan

REPARATIONS! A Juneteenth Celebration of Black Improv Comedy

Laugh it up at a showcase of NYC’s finest Black improv teams followed by a free improv jam and party at Asylum NYC (307 W 26th St.)! There will be five all-Black improv teams—comprised of the best Black improvisers from The PIT, Squirrel Theatre, Magnet Theater, Brooklyn Comedy Collective, UCB, Rubbish Comedy Collective, Armory Comedy, and more—North Coast, Branded Silk, 2Fifs, Brothered Toast and Electric Slide. The show on Sunday takes place at 9:30pm and is $15 per person. The jam afterward is free.

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Queens Public Library will start its weeklong observance of Juneteenth. Don't miss a Freedom Walk around the Rochdale Village Library branch from 5 to 5:15pm on Friday or a Juneteenth festival at the Langston Hughes Library and Cultural Center featuring a performance and a class CarNYval Dancers at 1pm, a Reelblack Films presentation and discussion at 3pm and a painting activity at 3:30pm. Other activities and events include a Juneteenth drum circle and craft on Tuesday, June 14, at 4pm at Woodhaven Library, a virtual soul cooking class on June 15 at 6pm, as well as family storytimes, painting activities and children’s crafts at various branches. It's all free!

  • Things to do
  • City Life

On June 17, Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage will kick off its series of free shows in neighborhood parks across all five boroughs with a free Juneteenth celebration with a screening of the Oscar award-winning film, Summer of Soul (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) in Marcus Garvey Park. Programming will kick off at 7pm with entertainment. The screening will begin at 8pm.

 

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Trivia for Us Juneteenth crawl
Photograph: courtesy Trivia For Us

Trivia for Us Juneteenth crawl

Stroll, sample delicious food, drink boozy cocktails and party with live DJs at Black-owned establishments in Brooklyn for Juneteenth from 1-7pm on Saturday, June 18! With Trivia For Us, you can play trivia about black history, black pop culture, music, film, TV, art and science on your mobile device for a chance to win prizes from local vendors. Participating businesses include IV Purpose, Spudz, Brooklyn Tea, Indigo Style Vintage, Peaches BK and Brooklyn Beso. This event is for those 21 and older, so bring an ID.

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