How to celebrate Juneteenth at the University of Chicago, in the community

Juneteenth, the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, will once again be celebrated through various events organized by the University of Chicago community.

Juneteenth traces its origins to the June 19, 1865, reading of “General Orders No. 3” in Galveston, Texas—the official news of freedom to enslaved people 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Today, Juneteenth remains both a day of celebration and a reminder of ongoing struggles for racial justice. Below are several University of Chicago-affiliated events throughout the months of June and July that recognize the important holiday.

June 14

Intentional Immersion Workshop, 6:30–8 p.m.: From the University Community Service Center, this workshop is designed to offer context and guidance on thoughtful community engagement in relation to Juneteenth celebrations, with opportunities to join student- or staff-led groups to various Juneteenth community events. Students only.

June 16

Juneteenth Lecture at MBL: “Changing the Complexion of the Life Sciences,” 7 p.m.: As part of the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Juneteenth programming, join this in-person (in Woods Hole, Mass.) or virtual event with Kenneth Turner, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

June 17

South Side YMCA Juneteenth Celebration and Community BBQ, 11 a.m.­–3 p.m.: Free event will feature youth activities, games, and music. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own grills and coolers.

June 19

The DuSable Juneteenth Community BBQ, 10 a.m.­­–8 p.m.: The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center hosts its third annual festival with family-friendly activities, music performances, food and drink, and a Hip-Hop Communiversity discussion session featuring Kool Mo Dee.

1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical, 1:30 p.m.: Logan Center for the Arts performance telling the story of 20 enslaved Africans who arrived in Point Comfort, Va., and how the 400-year journey that followed would change the nation and the world. Tickets start at $38. A panel discussion follows the performance.

Juneteenth Celebration at the American Writer’s Museum, 6 p.m.: Will include a reading from “Those Who Saw the Sun,” Jaha Naila Avery’s new collection of oral history narratives from the time of Jim Crow in the South, plus a gallery talk by artists featured at the museum’s special exhibit “Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice.

June 20

Online class: Drusilla Dunjee Houston, first to publish a history of Nubia, 5­–7 p.m.: This free course from the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures will study Dunjee Houston’s work, “Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire” and how it remains relevant to our understanding of Nubian history.

June 24

Medical Careers Exposure & Emergency Preparedness Program Juneteenth Celebration Kickoff BBQ, 2 p.m.: Following the opening day of its Summer Pipeline Program that exposes minority youth to health careers and training, MedCEEP will host a community BBQ at 924 E. 57th St., including a spoken word performance that honors Black pioneers of the medical field.

July and August

“Screening Freedom” film series, Sundays, July 9­­­–Aug. 27: This eight-week curated series held at the Logan Center for the Arts will showcase works that embody the ongoing efforts of Black artists to self-produce films that reflect and enrich Black life. Discussions to follow each screening, free and open to all. More details to follow.