Where To Celebrate Juneteenth In Chicago

WBBM Newsradio Staff
June 17, 2020 - 12:31 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) --  The Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4, 1776, but at that time, black people were still enslaved.

It was not until June 19, 1865 that slaves became free. On that day, Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and read federal orders that the Civil War had ended with the Union’s victory, and all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. The news was delivered more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation order.


Celebrations date back to 1866, and by the 21st century, Juneteenth was celebrated in most major cities across the United States. Althought it is not recongized as a national holiday, Juneteenth is observed as a state holiday or special day in almost all states in the U.S.

For 155 years, African Americans have observed June 19 with celebrations that include street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties, historical reenactments, Miss Juneteenth contests, among many other activities.

But this year, celebrating the holiday is extra important for a lot of African Americans given the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. But with COVID-19 pandemic and Illinois currently in Phase 3 limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people, many groups have had to find alternative ways to honor the day.

Here are a list of the Juneteenth celebrations happening throughout the city and surrounding area, and online. 

South Side:

Chicago Peace And Equality Juneteenth Rally & Celebration 2020

Where: South Loop Green Space, 2400 S. State St.

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

What: Roses4Austin and EqualityShouldBeNormal are hosting a rally and celebration. The groups said they organized the march for several reasons under the umbrella of EQAULITY. The groups said it is a peaceful demonstration. They will provide t-shirts, masks for a show of uniformity until supplies run out. Also we will provide water and snacks. Special celebrity guests to be announced soon. MORE.

Juneteenth Celebration ReBuild Black Wall Street

Where: 35th Street and King Drive

When: Friday, 1-7 p.m. 

What: The current climate in Chicago has left many residents with emotional and financial stress. Haute Society is seeking to bridge the gap. There will be a mobile parade with black-owned business owners, HBCUs and community members. MORE.

Our Holiday March

Where: Washington Park, 5531 S. King Drive

When: Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

What: Come out for the first annual Juneteenth Chicago March. The organizer asks that those who attend wear black, red, green or all black. MORE.

Roll N Peace 5 - A Juneteenth Celebration

Where: Englewood Sqaure, 63rd and Halsted streets

When: Friday, registration at 4-7 p.m., tour at 8 p.m.

What: The Englewood community has experienced tremendous hardship this year in the midst of COVID-19 and the untimely murder of George Floyd. In response to these events Think Outside Da Block has mobilized Roll N Peace 5 for a Juneteenth celebration. Approaching its milestone 5th tour, Roll N Peace continues using cycling as the plan of action to address the public safety and mental health and wellness of the Englewood community. Participants will take a bicycle tour through Englewood. It will end with a celebration at the Chicago Firehouse Engine Company. Free bike rentals will be provided by Divvy. Text ROLLNPEACE to 474747 for more details. MORE.

Juneteenth The Celebration

Where: Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive.

When: Friday, 1 p.m. 

What: The Semigrowthfolk + Karizma in sponsorship with the Girls Like Me Project and the Harold Washington Cultural Center present Juneteenth the Celebration. There will be African dancing and drumming, free food, live entertainment, workshops and giveaways. MORE.

Juneteenth Car Parade

Where: Meet in one of four locations: South Side (87th and Dan Ryan), East Side (75th and Stony Island), West Side (Hamlin & Madison) or North Side (North Ave. & Halsted)

When: Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 

What: Bring flags, good energy, and families for a car parade that rides through the city celebrating ancestors and a day of emancipation. Meet in one of four locations: South Side (87th and Dan Ryan), East Side (75th and Stony Island), West Side (Hamlin & Madison), North Side (North Ave. & Halsted).  MORE

2nd Annual Juneteenth Family Festival

Where: Dan Ryan Woods, 8700 S. Western Ave.

When: Saturday, noon-5 p.m. 

What: Come out and enjoy a day full of family fun as you celebrate Juneteenth! There will be live performances, arts and crafts, artists, face painting, food vendors, dj, games and activities for the whole family. Admission is free for the event. However, food, kids’ activities and merchandise will be for sale. The 2nd Annual Juneteenth Family Festival is hosted by Burst Into Books, Moms of Beverly and Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative. MORE.

West Side:

Black Culture Week Juneteenth Caravan

Where: Kildare and Washington

When: Friday, noon-7:30 p.m. Friday

What: Beginning on Chicago's West Side, the citywide Juneteenth Caravan will pass through historic neighborhoods and sites on its way to the South Side's A. Phillip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. View the caravan's activities on a live stream from the organization's website. The caravan ends with a recognition ceremony and spoken word concert. MORE.

Juneteenth Celebration

Where: Grace Memorial Baptist Church, 1457 S. Keeler Ave.

When: Friday, 3 p.m.

What: There will be free food, music and giveaways. MORE.

Juneteenth Heal the Land Rally

Where: Austin Peoples Action Center, 5125 W. Chicago Ave.

When: Friday, noon-6 p.m. Friday

What: A rally will be held in honor of George Floyd. There will be food, live music and free coronavirus testing. MORE.


One Million Man March

Where: Start near 701 S. State St. (Across from Jones College Prep and on the street next to South Loop Club) ⁣and end at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St. 

When: Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

What: Celebrate the end of slavery and speak out against the injustices still happening to the black community by walking in this march from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. The march will start near Jones College Prep School and end at Daley Plaza. MORE.

The Free Black Children’s Library: Summer Pop-Up Series

When: Starting June 19

Where: Locations TBA

What: Browse free quality children’s books featuring black authors and illustrators that display an appreciation of black culture as it relates to race, civic engagement, social justices and human values. Masks are required when attending. Outdoor locations announced on June 19.


Rebuild Foundation’s Juneteenth Quarantine Concert

When: Friday, 5:30-8:30 p.m. 

What: Proceeds from this concert, hosted just days before what would have been Tamir Rice’s 18th birthday, will support the Tamir Rice Foundation’s endeavors to create the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The concert, curated by Rebuild Artist in Residence Yaw Agyeman, will feature words and performances by artists Megan McNeal, Krista Franklin, Rebuild Poet Laureate avery r young and Rebuild DJ in Residence Duane Powell. This virtual concert will be filmed in the presence of the gazebo and broadcast online. MORE.

Old Town School of Folk Music’s Virtual Juneteenth Concert

When: Friday, 8 p.m. 

What: The Virtual Juneteenth Celebration is a collaboration between the Old Town School of Folk Music, The AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), and Live the Spirit Residency. The performances will commemorate Juneteenth, the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation and the abolishment of slavery in the United States. The funds raised will be donated to Chicago Torture Justice Center to address the traumas of police violence and institutionalized racism. MORE.

Juneteenth Live Discussion With D-Composed

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Friday

What: Viewers can join John Dunson, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Overture Council president, for a conversation with D-Composed, a Chicago-based chamber music experience that highlights musicians and composers within the African diaspora. The event will be on Zoom. MORE.

A New Freedom: Black Voices Honoring Juneteenth in a Time of Struggle

When: Friday, 6 p.m.

What: The Chicago Children’s Choir honors Juneteenth with virtual concert - A New Freedom: Black Voices Honoring Juneteenth in a Time of Struggle. The free virtual concert of music and spoken word honors Juneteenth on Friday, June 19 at 6 p.m. featuring performances from Black CCC alumni, the concert is curated by CCC Englewood Neighborhood Choir & In School Conductor Lonnie Norwood, CCC Alumna Tramaine Parker, and CCC Associate Artistic Director Mark Myers. The concert will be livestreamed on CCC’s Facebook and YouTube. MORE.

Virtual Juneteenth Journey Through African American History and Forum

When: Friday, 6-9 p.m.

What: This virtual experience will explore major moments in African American history with live performances followed by a forum for how we move forward during this movement. It will also include a forum to discuss the current movement. This is not a live attendance event. It will be held virtually for public viewing. Tune in to For Your Joysocial media accounts for viewing. MORE.

In addition to the events happening in and around the city, black-owned restaurants are offering specials. The Black People Eats Team, a website that promotes Black businesses, has brought together over 70 black-owned restaurants to offer $6.19 specials from Friday through Sunday to celebrate Juneteenth.

"We hope that this weekend you will spend your dollars in the black community to show your support. See below the list of restaurants as well as an interactive map that has a list of all of the restaurants for you to order from. If you decide to take pictures/videos of your food, yourself, family, and friends, please use hashtag #blackpeopleeats and #juneteenth so we can share. Thank you again to all of you who will be participating," The Black People Eats Team said in a statement.