For the very first year, Juneteenth is now an official state holiday in Massachusetts. While Juneteenth started out a century and a half ago as a Texan holiday, it’s been celebrated by Black Americans here in the Northeast for generations. Recognized on June 19, the holiday commemorates the day that the last formerly enslaved people were told they were free, in 1865 (three years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation).
After last year’s largely virtual Juneteenth celebrations due to the pandemic, communities all across the region are getting ready to observe the holiday with flag raising ceremonies, live performances, barbecues, art, and reunions of friends and family. Below are a few Juneteenth parties happening on the North Shore throughout the next week, many of them first annual celebrations.
The North Shore Juneteenth Association will hold a lively event this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lynn Museum’s courtyard. At their free Juneteenth festival, the association welcomes local performers like dancers and musicians along with food vendors cooking up soul food. The event will also include opportunities to shop from local Black-owned vendors and learn more about the history of Juneteenth.
When: Saturday, June 19, 1 – 5 p.m.
Where: Lynn Museum
The Artful Life is collaborating with the North Shore Juneteenth Association for an event called Celebrating Black Voices: Collaborative Collage and Book Fair. On Saturday, June 26, this drop-in event will be split between the two floors of the Artful Life Counseling Center and Studio in Salem. The first floor will be a book fair, with children’s books by Black authors curated by Copper Dog Books, along with tables featuring local Black artists. The second floor plays host to a collaborative collage, in which all guests are encouraged to participate. The collage pays homage to Black American collage artist Romare Bearden.
When: Saturday, June 26, 12 – 5 p.m.
Where: Artful Life Counseling Center and Studio, Salem
On Saturday, Juneteenth, the Salem Commons will host a demonstration called Remembering Juneteenth, in which participants will gather to remember lost Black and Brown lives, especially those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of justice and equality.
When: Saturday, June 19, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Salem Commons
Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices has organized a Juneteenth block party this weekend, full of music, dancing, food, and joy. The second annual celebration will take place at Doherty Field in Andover on Saturday evening. You can expect activities like face painting and a bouncy house, art & crafts vendors, live performers, and some delicious Haitian BBQ catering. Be sure to RSVP at the link below!
When: Saturday, June 19, 5 – 8 p.m.
Where: Doherty Field, Andover
Swampscott holds its first ever Juneteenth celebration tomorrow, June 17. The traditional Juneteenth event welcomes all community members and includes a flag raising, live music, food, speakers, yard games, and more.
When: Thursday, June 17, 1 p.m.
Where: Swampscott Town Hall
The city of Lowell will hold a Juneteenth celebration with a flag raising at Lowell City Hall on Saturday at 9 a.m. Lowell Mayor Leahy will be joined by other city officials for this first annual event.
When: Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m.
Where: Lowell City Hall
Tomorrow, June 17, at 11 a.m., Everett will also host its first Juneteenth flag raising in collaboration with the North Shore Juneteenth Association. The event will include dance and poetry performances along with refreshments. Speakers include Everett Mayor DeMaria, North Shore Juneteenth Association president Nicole Mcclain, and State Senator Sal DiDomenico.
When: Thursday, June 17, 11 a.m.
Where: Everett City Hall