This year, members of the University of Chicago community have organized events to celebrate Juneteenth, the annual celebration that is now in its second year as a U.S. federal holiday.
Juneteenth traces its origins to the reading of “General Orders No. 3” in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865—which brought news of freedom to enslaved people years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a day of independence for Black Americans, and a reminder of ongoing struggles for racial justice. Here are just a few ways to celebrate, both this weekend and in the weeks to come.
Friday, June 17
The Marine Biological Laboratory will host a lecture with Brian Chad Starks, who will discuss what independence has look like for Black Americans and challenge the audience’s perception of American history. Starks is the founder and CEO of BCS and Associates, a consulting firm focusing on social justice and equity.
The lecture will stream beginning at 7 p.m. CT from MBL’s Clapp Auditorium. Virtual registration is available.
Saturday, June 18
The Logan Center for the Arts will host “Art & Agency,” a symposium on African American quilting presented in collaboration with Africa International House. The free event will examine the quilting tradition from Africa to America, and the ways quilts and quilting define the social, economic and cultural agency of Black people.
The hybrid event will begin at 2:30 p.m. CT, and registration is required for in-person attendance. Livestream registration is also available.
Sunday, June 19
Just west of the UChicago campus, the DuSable Museum of African American History will host a community-wide Juneteenth BBQ & Block Party, featuring activities for all ages and live performances—including appearances by artists Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. The daylong event begins at 11 a.m. and is supported in part by the University’s Office for Civic Engagement.
The University of Chicago’s Black in Academia Resource Group is sponsoring the Black Arts Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Held in the Logan Center courtyard, the event will feature local Black artists, food, music, shopping and more.
Saturday, June 25
Arts + Public Life’s L1 Creative Business Accelerator + Retail Store will host “Good Vibes on Garfield,” an outdoor arts marketplace showcasing unique products made primarily by South Side artists and creative entrepreneurs. The marketplace opens at noon, with DJ Ca$h Era playing throughout the day.
Launched in 2020 by UChicago, the L1 Creative Business Accelerator Program supports local Black-owned businesses. This one-day event is presented by UChicago’s Arts + Public Life in partnership with Proximity—the social enterprise arm of The Silver Room—with generous sponsorship from the Office of the Provost, Diversity & Inclusion.
Sunday, June 26
The Logan Center’s Digital Storytelling Initiative will show a series of movies in celebration of Juneteenth, featuring selections from the history of Black independent cinema. “Screening Juneteenth” will begin at the Logan Center (Room 201) on June 26 with Daughters of the Dust, a 1991 film from Julie Dash. Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, the film tells the story of three generations of a coastal Gullah community at the dawn of the 20th century.
The film series will continue with Cane River (July 10), Emma Mae (July 17), To Sleep With Anger (July 24) and Miss Juneteenth (July 31). Catered discussions will follow each screening.