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Nineteen ways to celebrate the historical events of Juneteenth in Boston and beyond

The when and where on everything from the Embrace Ideas Festival to community gatherings and arts open houses and concerts.

The Forum for Racial Equity in Hyde Park will host a Juneteenth celebration on June 17.Kayla Lawrence

See more Juneteenth coverage from the Globe

June 19 is Juneteenth, a public holiday commemorating the day slavery ended. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, not everyone was immediately free. June 19, 1865 is a date of monumental importance: Enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned from the Union Army’s Major General Gordon Granger that they were free.

Here are 19 ways to participate in festivities in Boston and beyond — from neighborhood events to museum open houses to concerts — and to reflect on the enduring significance of the date, recognized as a federal holiday since 2021.


Listen to ‘Keyshawn Solves It’ podcast “Keyshawn Solves It,” a GBH Kids-produced podcast that started on May 29, follows 10-year-old Keyshawn, who must solve the mystery of why bikes in his neighborhood are going missing — all before a bike parade on Juneteenth. Eight episodes in total, two episodes drop every Monday through Juneteenth. The series is available on podcast platforms or at

Museum of African American History exhibit “The Emancipation Proclamation: A Pragmatic Compromise” is a new exhibit that opened at the Abiel Smith School of the Museum of African American History’s Boston location June 5 and focuses on the history of the Emancipation Proclamation. Through excerpts of the documentary “Jubilee, Juneteenth, and the Thirteenth,” the museum explains how the announcement of emancipation played out in Boston. $15 for adults, $8 for ages 13-17 and seniors, free for members and children 12 and under. Abiel Smith School, 46 Joy St.

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire weeklong celebration The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, a nonprofit that educates the public about African American history, has organized an extended Juneteenth celebration, with events from June 10 through June 19 in New Hampshire. Through “Reading the Bones: Celebrating the African Diaspora,” the nonprofit offers a tour of the Canterbury Shaker Village museum and a hybrid panel discussion about the documentary “Uprooted: Heartache and Hope in New Hampshire,” which is about refugees in New Hampshire. Additionally, the public can visit a mixed-media art exhibit, an inaugural reggae festival (the highlight of the celebration), and performances ranging from African drumming to a gospel choir. June 10-June 19. Free-$70. Canterbury, Portsmouth, and Manchester.


Journey to Juneteenth storytelling by Valerie Tutson Essex National Heritage Commission and the National Park Service host a storytelling session featuring professional storyteller Valerie Tutson. Tutson will engage audience members in the history of Juneteenth and take them through the day enslaved people were informed of emancipation in Galveston, Texas, in 1865. The 45-minute session will mix fictional characters with historical events at the Salem Armory Regional Visitor Center. June 10, 11 a.m.-noon. Free, registration encouraged. Salem Armory Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St., Salem.

Embrace Ideas Festival The second annual Embrace Ideas Festival held by Embrace Boston creates thought-provoking conversations about racial justice June 14 through June 16. While most of the festival’s events are sold out, two free celebrations remain. RSVP for the inaugural Juneteenth concert at “The Embrace” memorial or the block party filled with dance, music, and local BIPOC food vendors at Roxbury Community College. Juneteenth concert: June 14, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Free. Boston Common Visitors Center, 139 Tremont St.. Block party: June 16, 2-8:30 p.m. Free. Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Ave.


Hyde Park’s Juneteenth celebration Presented by the Forum for Racial Equity in Hyde Park, this community event will include awards, food tastings, arts activities, and the unveiling of a traveling exhibition titled “Living Histories of Hyde Park,,” which features Black and brown Hyde Park residents. Mayor Michelle Wu will speak at the celebration, and Governor Maura Healey will help launch the exhibition. Local dancers and Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola will perform. June 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Francis D. Martini Memorial Shell Park and Moynihan Recreation Area, 1015 Truman Parkway.

Soprano Sirgourney Cook will perform with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Juneteenth concert on June 17. Michael Dwyer

Boston Landmarks Orchestra concert Boston Landmarks Orchestra will perform works by Black composers in honor of Juneteenth. The concert features selections like “Treemonisha” by Scott Joplin, “Mother and Child” by William Grant Still, and Phillis Wheatley: A Musical Journey” by Nkeiru Okoye. June 17, 4-5:30 p.m. Free, registration required. The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 650 Dudley St.

Dawit L. Petros, “Hadenbes,” 2005, from “As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic” (Aperture, 2021).Dawit L. Petros/Bradley Ertaskiran

‘As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic’ at Peabody Essex Museum In Salem, a new photography exhibition offers a multifaceted view of the Black experience as captured by Black artists. Over 100 pieces on view from June 17 through Dec. 31 portray different elements of the African diaspora. $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $12 for students, free for Salem residents, members, and children 16 and under. Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem.


Belmont and Watertown Juneteenth Festival Belmont Human Rights Commission and the Watertown Community for Black Lives are organizing two days of Juneteenth festivities. On June 17, community members can enjoy breakfast, crafts, and a dance party at Watertown Free Public Library. The next day, there will be a festival of music performances, Jamaican food, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and a trivia contest at Belmont’s Beech Street Center. June 17: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., Watertown. June 18: 2-6 p.m. Free. Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., Belmont.

"The Wanderer’s Tethering" by composer Mason Bynes (left) and librettist Porsha Olayiwola (right) will be performed at Hibernian Hall June 18.Matao Aric Photography/Berklee Career Center, Carlie Febo

The Wanderer’s Tethering’ concert at Hibernian Hall Head to Hibernian Hall for the premiere of “The Wanderer’s Tethering,” an operetta commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera. Librettist and Boston poet laureate Porsha Olayiwola and composer Mason Bynes present a story about Igbo descendant Tobi and her reflection on the rebellion of a group of Igbo people who drowned themselves in 1803 after they were captured by slavers. The concert also includes performances of music by Florence Price, Trevor Weston, and Jessie Montgomery. June 18, 4-7 p.m. Pay-what-you-can. Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St., Roxbury.

Longfellow House annual gathering Learn more about Cambridge’s history of slavery and activism at the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. This annual event includes an outdoor portion of music, refreshments, an art installation, and historians’ remarks. In the evening, a screening of the 2022 documentary “Descendant,” about the final slave ship to reach the US and its descendants, will be held nearby at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. June 18, outdoor event: 4-6:30 p.m. 105 Brattle St., Cambridge. “Descendant” screening: 6:30-8:45 p.m., 113 Brattle St., Cambridge. Free


Juneteenth at Fenway Thinking about catching the June 18 Red Sox game against the Yankees at Fenway Park? A special offer allows game-goers to obtain Red Sox jerseys in Juneteenth colors (red, green, and black) and entrance to a pre-game gathering. June 18, 7:10 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Fenway Park, 4 Jersey St.

MFA Boston Open House On Juneteenth, Massachusetts residents can enjoy free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, which will host various cultural and artistic activities throughout the day. Visitors can make pottery based on the “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina” exhibition, attend a call-and-response performance by poet Golden, and watch portions of Walter Robinson’s opera, “Look What a Wonder.” June 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 465 Huntington Ave.

ICA Boston Juneteenth celebration Partnering with the Boston Ujima Project, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston presents a free daylong program called We Create the World: A Juneteenth Celebration. Attendees are encouraged to view Simone Leigh’s eponymous exhibit, browse works by local artisans, and watch short films chosen by the Roxbury International Film Festival and the Boston Ujima Project. June 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free, tickets required for the museum. Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum free day Stop by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for a free day of Juneteenth programming, including music from DJ KNSZWRTH, a performance by local poet Amanda Shea, and a screening of the documentary “A Reckoning in Boston.” The documentary follows two low-income local figures enrolled in a humanities class. The subjects eventually become collaborators in the making of the film, as it deals with topics of racism and privilege. Carl Chandler, producer and one of the subjects, will discuss the film with panelists after the screening. June 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way.

"Carnelian" by Lex Brown is on view at the MIT List Visual Arts Center.Dario Lasagni

MIT List Visual Arts Center free admission The MIT List Visual Arts Center invites visitors to view its three exhibitions for free on Juneteenth. In the exhibitions, New York-based Alison Nguyen explores the cultural effects of cinematic storytelling, Philadelphia-based Lex Brown combines social issues and satiristic humor, and Berlin-based Sung Tieu uses different spatial configurations to reflect political questions. June 19, noon to 6 p.m. Free. MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Cambridge.

Emancipation observance Juneteenth: Honoring Our Martyrs and Heroes is a day of emancipation observance held by the Boston Juneteenth Committee and the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. Head to the Dillaway-Thomas House for a flag raising and then follow a parade to the museum. Attendees can enjoy music, food, speakers, and other activities. June 19, noon-7 p.m. Free. Dillaway-Thomas House, 183 Roxbury St., Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, 300 Walnut Ave.

‘Welcoming the Embrace’ documentary The documentary “Welcoming the Embrace” follows the story of how “The Embrace” memorial came to be. It airs on Juneteenth at 7 p.m. on NBC10 Boston and has its theatrical premiere through the Roxbury International Film Festival’s screening of the film at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston June 22. Television date: June 19, 7 p.m., NBC10 Boston. In-person screening: June 22, 5-6:45 p.m. $15 for non-members, $12 for members. Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium, 465 Huntington Ave.

Congregational Library & Archives exhibits and conversation The Congregational Library & Archives will have two exhibitions on view. “Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry: Prayers in Thread” by the Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry is a display of 11 quilts depicting George Floyd’s final words before his death in 2020. The Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry is made up of New Hampshire congregations who banded together in 2020 to create the quilts as an act of memorialization. Three quilt project leaders will participate in a conversation on Juneteenth. An accompanying exhibition, “Threads of Resistance: Black Voices and Women’s Activism,” consists of materials from the Congregational Library & Archives’s collections that tell the story of Black artistry and activism in the congregational realm. Exhibitions: June 19-21 Free, registration required. Congregational Library & Archives, 14 Beacon St. Conversation: June 19, 2-4 p.m. Free. Congregational Library & Archives, 14 Beacon St.

Abigail Lee can be reached at