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Free Juneteenth celebrations around town

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Free Juneteenth celebrations around town

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Africans in the United States, and every year, celebrations bring communities together to honor that history. These are a few of the most exciting (and free) celebrations happening around the Boston area this weekend.

Embrace Boston’s Juneteenth Block Party

When: Friday, June 16, 2pm-8:30pm
Where: Roxbury Community College
About: Kick off Juneteenth weekend with a night of music, dancing and food provided by local BIPOC-owned food trucks. This party is part of the larger Embrace Ideas Festival 2023 that celebrates Black culture, community, ideas and arts for three whole days.

Juneteenth at Franklin Park

When: Saturday, June 17, 11am-7pm
Where: Franklin Park Shattuck
Picnic Grove
About: The community comes together to celebrate Juneteenth with a massive barbecue complete with food, beverages, music and games. Some vendors and volunteers (such as the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.) will have tents with offerings, but partygoers are encouraged to bring their own picnic supplies as well.

The Urban Grape Juneteenth Celebration

When: Saturday, June 17, 1pm-4pm
Where: Urban Grape
About: Head to this Black-owned wine shop for an afternoon sampling wines and spirits from Black-owned businesses, including Ten to One rum, Uncle Nearest whiskey and wine from Maison Noir, Longevity and House of Brown.

‘The Wanderer’s Tethering’ Summer Concert

When: Sunday, June 18, 4pm
Where: Hibernian Hall
About: This pay-what-you-can performance showcases work by historic and contemporary Black musicians and debuts a new piece by Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola and Mason Bynes about the 1803 Igbo revolt.

We Create the World: A Juneteenth Celebration

Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art for free admission and a day of films, music and activities. PHOTO: LAUREN MILLER

When: Monday, June 19, 10am-5pm
Where: ICA Boston
About: Visit the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) for free admission and a day of films, music and activities centering the Black experiences and curated by the Boston Ujima Project.

Cambridge Juneteenth Parade

When: Monday, June 19, 10am
Where: Cambridge City Hall
About: This year’s Cambridge Juneteenth Parade, which begins at City Hall and ends at Riverside Press Park, honors the first African American fire chief, Patrick H. Raymond, who was chief of the Cambridge Fire Department 1871-1878.

Juneteenth: Celebrating Voices of Boston

When: Monday, June 19, 11am-5pm
Where: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
About: In celebration of Juneteenth the Gardner Museum will offer free admission and all-day activities, conversations and performances on the theme of freedom.

MFA Boston Juneteenth Open House

Massachuseets residents receive free admission to the MFA on Juneteenth. PHOTO: COURTESY MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS BOSTON

When: Monday, June 19, 10am-5pm
Where: Museum of Fine Arts Boston
About: Massachusetts residents visiting the MFA on Juneteenth receive free admission (including special exhibits), plus access to art-making activities, gallery talks and performances about the history of Juneteenth. Don’t miss the show “Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina.” 

Boston Juneteenth Emancipation Observance

When: Monday, June 19, 12pm-6pm
Where: National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA)
About: This celebration starts with a flag raising at Roxbury’s historic Dillaway-Thomas house, then proceeds with a parade to the NCAAA. From there community members can enjoy live music, speeches, art-making, food vendors and more.

Somerville Museum: Juneteenth Event

When: Monday, June 19, 12pm-3pm
Where: Somerville Museum
About: Tour the current show “Above and Beyond” highlighting Black athlete, Somerville native and Olympian Phil Reavis Sr., then enjoy a poetry reading led by Reavis and a student poetry slam.

Juneteenth Celebration

When: Monday, June 19, 1:30pm
Where: Harriet Tubman Park/Union United Methodist Church
About: Following the laying of a wreath in Tubman’s honor, Greg Fergus, a member of Canada’s Parliament, speaks.

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