Juneteenth marks the date that, 155 years ago, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, finally learned that the Civil War had ended and that—by order of the Emancipation Proclamation more than two and a half years earlier—they were free.
To honor the holiday, celebrated each year on June 19, we’ve compiled a list of celebrations both near and far, as well as a collection of virtual classes and platforms to help you learn more about “Freedom Day.”
Juneteenth Virtual Music Festival | June 18-19 | 8 a.m.-midnight
The nine-year-old Denver celebration of black music and culture will be presented virtually this year, with DJ Jazzy Jeff headlining a “’90s vs. Everybody” house party that will be streamed live from 9 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, June 18. His set will be preceded by the festival’s sixth-annual Dream Big awards—honoring Joy-Ann Reid, Colorado Senator Rhonda Fields, and Thomas “Detour” Evans, among others—as well as panels and a virtual marketplace, and will be followed, on Friday, June 19, by the event’s #IamJuneteenth campaign, in which community members share what they’ve learned about the holiday.
Happy Hour Reading: Writing in Color | June 19 | 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Denver’s the Lighthouse Writers Workshop will lead a Zoom presentation connecting writers of color in order to “foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive writing community in Colorado.”
Pride Shabbat aLIVE | June 19 | 5-6 p.m.
Judaism Your Way, JCC Denver, and Jewish Colorado will present a virtual celebration of Pride led by LGBTQ female rabbis. In honor of Juneteenth, this year’s event will feature prayers written by LGBTQ Jews of color.
Juneteenth and Pride Rainbow Rock Painting | June 19 | 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
New Cottage Arts, a music- and arts-education organization, will host this free, family-friendly event (bring your own rock; sanitized brushes will be supplied) in its parking lot under canopies in order to observe safe social distancing protocols. 655 S. Federal Blvd., Unit A
Juneteenth ’20: Pop Up Film Event | June 18 | 6 -9 p.m.
The Denton (Texas) Black Film Festival will host a free virtual festival that will showcase shorts from black filmmakers, including LiME, a story about a mother teaching her son about bullies and life, and the horror film Patient Zero.
Juneteenth Black Family Reunion | June 19 | 2 -4 p.m.
The NAACAP will livestream a community gathering on YouTube to “honor the lives we’ve lost this year, uplift our collective movement for civil rights, and remember the moments that make us proud to be Black,” according to its website. The organization is also asking for your own stories of challenges, wisdom, encouragement, and support, which might be highlighted during the event. Submit them here.
Reflections on Juneteenth and America’s Racial Legacy Lectures | June 19 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Rice University in Houston will host this daylong Zoom conference, including sessions on “Black Records: Race and Criminal Justice under Jim Crow,” “Slavery Before and After Juneteenth,” and “The Need for Psychological Change and Anti-Racism for Effective Organizations.”
African American History: From Emancipation to the Present | Anytime
Yale University’s Open Yale course was recorded in 2010, and its 25 lectures can be viewed at your convenience online.
Juneteenth: An American History Through Maps | Anytime
The mapping and analysis organization ArcGIS and Juneteenth America Inc. created an interactive online platform that explores the history of slavery and emancipation through primary documents and maps.
American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. | Anytime
This free online Stanford University class examines the civil rights leader’s personal documents to better understand how his public and private life influenced his view, as well as other facets of King’s legacy.