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Celebrate Juneteenth in Philly, From Home

2020 marks Pennsylvania’s first official statewide observance of the holiday!

Juneteenth celebrates the ending of slavery in the United States, taking its name from June 19, 1865, when news of abolition reached Texas. More generally, Juneteenth is a day to celebrate freedom, as well as African-American history and heritage. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Juneteenth in Philly is without its usual big festivals and parade; but it perhaps is more important and relevant than ever, and 2020 marks Pennsylvania’s first official statewide observance of the holiday! Here’s how to celebrate (virtually).

Juneteenth at Museum of the American Revolution

June 19


Celebrate freedom all day with the Museum of the American Revolution. Tune into the Museum’s Facebook for a performance of the one-woman show “Freedom on the Horizon” with historical interpreter Nastassia Parker as she portrays Ona Judge, an enslaved woman who ran away from the Washington household in Philadelphia. The performance will be followed by an Instagram Live question-and-answer session with Parker and Tyler Putman, the Museum’s Manager of Gallery Interpretation. Discover the story of Harry Washington, who was originally enslaved by George Washington and found freedom through service in the British Army, with a Virtual Discovery Cart on the Museum’s Facebook and Instagram. The Museum’s free, weekly mini-lesson plan will explore Dunmore’s Proclamation, a document signed in 1775, which promised freedom for enslaved people who left their owners and joined the British Army.

Mighty Writers’ Juneteenth Story Time

June 19, 11 am—noon


Children ages 5 to 8 are invited to a virtual celebration that includes storytelling, a virtual parade, and a sing-along! Kids are also encouraged to write Freedom Poems, and will have the opportunity to read them at the end. Free; pre-register online.

DanceFit’s Juneteenth Dancethon

June 19, 6:30 pm


Join DanceFit for an online dance party via Zoom to celebrate Juneteenth and experience abridged versions of their popular classes. Donations to DanceFit will support work towards racial justice and equality through The Equal Justice Initiative.

AAMP’s Juneteenth 2020 Virtual Festival

June 20, 11 am—3 pm


The African American Museum in Philadelphia will “Celebrate the Diaspora” by showcasing performances, fun activities, and public dialogues for all ages that highlight current and historic Diasporic connections across the globe. Events include a flag activity at 11 am, storytelling, community conversations, and a closing concert with ACANA at 2:30 pm. Free; register online.

The Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival

June 20, noon—5 pm


Usually held at the historic Johnson House—a pivotal spot on the Underground Railroad—this year the block party goes virtual with historical re-enactments, music, and more. Join via Facebook or Zoom.




Photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.

Contributing Writer