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Where to observe Juneteenth in Brooklyn

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The Brooklyn United Drum Line perform during a Juneteenth celebration outside Brooklyn Public Library.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

There are plenty of Juneteenth events to choose from this year that don’t even require leaving the borough. Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication Brownstoner rounded up a mix of events where Brooklynites can soak up a bit of knowledge while celebrating.

The Juneteenth holiday commemorates the day when news of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. While Black Brooklynites of the 19th and early 20th century often held celebrations on or near January 1 when the proclamation was officially released, by the late 20th century Juneteenth had evolved into a national, rather than just regional, celebration of African American family, freedom and achievement.

Texas was the first state to declare it a public holiday in 1980. It was established as a commemorative day in New York State in 2004, and it became an official public holiday in the state in 2020.

The events below take place on Saturday, June 19 unless noted otherwise. Check out the online info for each event for full details on the programs and how to RSVP.

13th Annual Juneteenth NY Festival

Linden Park, East New York
10 a.m.–6 p.m.
There will be some virtual programming the evening before, but the in-person celebration in Linden Park on Juneteenth itself will include performances, food trucks, vendors and a kids corner. More programming in Prospect Park the following day will wrap up the three-day event.

Juneteenth Food Festival

Weeksville Heritage Center
June 18–19, 12–7 p.m.
Join Weeksville and Black-Owned Brooklyn for a free food festival with over 20 Black food vendors serving up tasty fare of the diaspora. In addition to the food, there will be goods from Black-owned businesses and music from Papi Juice Bk and Soul Summit Music collective.

Juneteenth Trolley Tour

Green-Wood Cemetery
10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Join historian Jeff Richman and Medgar Evers College lecturer Moses Phillips for a trip through the historic cemetery to recognize those who fought for emancipation and the civil liberties of Black Americans and have their final resting place at Green-Wood. Included will be a stop at the grave of James Weldon Johnson, the lyricist behind “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Tickets, which are $30 or $25 for members, are required.

There are plenty of ways to commemorate Juneteenth right here in Brooklyn.Photo by Susan De Vries

Honoring Juneteenth

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
11 a.m.–7 p.m.
A day of celebration at the museum will kick off with Freedom Ride, a Good Company Bike Club tour past landmarks of Black Brooklyn history with stops at Black-owned businesses. Other activities include poetry performances, a reading corner, family art making, a dance workshop and music with Brown Sugar Bounce.

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: Juneteenth UNITYFEST

Prospect Park
7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
The evening of music and storytelling, envisioned by Grammy-nominated African American artist Robert Randolph, will feature multiple artists in performance at the Bandshell. Entry will be first come, first served although if you RSVP you will get updates as artists are added to the lineup for the evening.

Juneteenth Celebration: Sonic Liberation – Dance Party

Plaza at 300 Ashland
Saturday, June 18 with a rain date of June 19
5:50–8:30 p.m.
The free dance party will kick off with the Brooklyn Technical High School Lady Dragons. The evening, a collaboration between the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and The Center for Fiction, will continue with DJs Quinnette, Lynnée Denise and Reborn.

This story first appeared on Brownstoner.

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