Celebrate Freedom at these Philadelphia Juneteenth Celebrations
Freedom Day celebrations bring art, history, and community to Philly.
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. Last year marked Pennsylvania’s first official statewide observance of the holiday, but due to the pandemic, celebrations were mainly virtual. This year, in-person events will return, and we look forward to a Philly Juneteenth that’s bigger and better than ever. Here’s how to celebrate with kids.
June 17, 11 am–3 pm
Cecil B. Moore Library, 2320 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Join Free Library of Philadelphia for food, giveaways, music, and art-making. Enjoy food, fun, and a celebration of Black liberation and Black life, create art and express yourself in community, share stories, and make memories.
June 18, 10 am
Lillian Marrero Library, 601 W. Lehigh Ave.
Join Lillian Marrero Library outside for a craft celebrating Juneteenth. Free; weather permitting.
June 19, 9 am–3 pm
March begins at 52nd St. and Haverford Ave.; ends at Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine streets) for the festival
Meet at 52nd Street and Haverford Avenue in West Philadelphia at 9 am for a Freedom March down 52nd Street, followed by the “Art in the Park” Exhibit and vendors fair at Malcolm X Park.
June 19, 11 am–4 pm
African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
AAMP partners with Wawa Welcome America and Visit Philadelphia to host a day of free, family-friendly outdoor festivities, including educational activities for youth and families, tasty bites and handmade wares sold by local vendors, and a live stage featuring performances by Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Nina “Lyrispect” Ball, Aijee, Drum Like a Lady, Warren Oree and the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble, and V. Shayne Frederick. Plus, AAMP will offer free timed admission to the museum between 10 am and 5 pm on Juneteenth. Guests are encouraged to register in advance for tickets.
4231 Avenue of the Republic
PTM will be celebrating throughout the museum all day. In the Creative Arts Studio, drop-in for an activity inspired by African American artists Faith Ringgold, the women artisans of Gee’s Bend, and Bisa Butler. Children will be encouraged to create their own self-portrait inspired by the meaningful tradition of quilting that is central to the work of these incredible artists. In the Makerspace, learn more about contemporary African American scientists, inventors, and engineers, while exploring engineering and tools. Kids can also visit the Storytime Cabin for a story that celebrates Juneteenth, and take part in pop-up interactive, play-based sessions downstairs that explore African music and food. Reservations are required for timed entry to the museum.
June 19, 10 am
239 Arch St.
The Betsy Ross House joins in celebrating Juneteenth on the final day of Flag Fest, Saturday, June 19. The U.S. Colored Troops will join Betsy to raise both the 13-star American and Juneteenth flags, and visitors will “meet” Rev. Richard Allen beginning at 11 am. Plus, the first 100 visitors to the Betsy Ross House will receive free admission.
June 19, 10 am
Amalgam Comics, 2578 Frankford Ave.
Amalgam is partnering with The Black Child Book Fair (a Chicago-based traveling book fair aimed at promoting and amplifying Black voices in children’s literature) for an outdoor Juneteenth celebration featuring books, comics, music, and arts & crafts.
June 19, 11 am—2 pm
Stenton Park, 4600 N. 18th St.
Bring your blankets, chairs, and a packed lunch to Stenton Park and Museum for a museum open house, storytelling and reenactments, and live performances by Women’s Sekere Ensemble and Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble. All events are free and open to the public.
June 19, noon–3 pm
200 N. Sixth St.
This free, outdoor storytime is perfect for families, and will explore the connections between Freedom and Liberty. Listen and learn through reenactor portrayals of US Colored Troops, many of the soldiers who delivered word of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation across Texas in 1865.
June 19, 1—5 pm
6300 Block of Germantown Avenue (between Washington Lane and Johnson Street)
The historic Johnson House—a pivotal spot on the Underground Railroad—hosts its annual Juneteenth celebration. The festival includes live entertainment, historical reenactments, a beer and hard cider garden, a marketplace, and tours of the historic sites. For the little ones, the children’s village (6316 Germantown Ave.) will have baby goats, face painting, arts and crafts, and a moon bounce.
June 19, 2—5 pm
3201 W. Girard Ave.
Bring your lawn chair or picnic blanket and enjoy live DJ music, kid-friendly activities and games, face-painting, and giveaways including free T-shirts, books, and school supplies.
101 S. Third St. (and online)
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. On June 19 at 10 am, tune into their Facebook to discover the story of Richard Allen, a minister who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent Black denomination in the United States. Explore that church, Mother Bethel, including its story-rich stained-glass windows and burial ground, where people from the Revolutionary-era are interred.
In person, visit the museum for pop-up talks, and visits to the contactless Discovery Cart, where you can explore replica objects related to the life of Harry Washington, who was enslaved by the Washingtons and found freedom through service in the British army.
Photograph courtesy of Visit Philadelphia.