Juneteenth 2021: DC region event, festival and exhibit guide

The D.C. region is set to commemorate Juneteenth — also known as Emancipation Day — with an array of events, festivals and exhibits this year. And with coronavirus health restrictions easing, many of the scheduled events will be live and in person.

Juneteenth marks the date — June 19,1865 — when the last enslaved Black Americans learned that they were free under the Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect in 1863.

Confederate soldiers had surrendered to Union forces in April 1865, but the news didn’t reach Texas until June 19.

On Wednesday, Congress voted to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. The bill goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. When the bill is signed into law, the federal holiday would be called Juneteenth National Independence Day.

See below for a list of Juneteenth events across the D.C. area.

DC

  • What Is Black Art Exhibition: Artwork from 19 Black artists from around world will be on display. The exhibit seeks to investigate and spark dialogue over the question contained in the event’s name.
    • Time: The premiere event starts at 7:30 p.m. June 25, and the exhibit runs until July 9.
    • Location: Eaton DC, 1201 K St. NW
    • Cost: $20
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Juneteenth Series: The museum will host a set of online events throughout the day, including African Americans and the U.S. of Barbecue, Genealogy & Records of Intrigue, Tales of Slavery and Beyond, Connecting the Historic to the Now and A Conversation with Amythyst Kiah.
    • Time: Events begin at 10 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. June 19
    • Location: Online
    • Cost: Free
  • ONE DC Juneteenth in D.C. 2021: This event will feature the grand reopening of the Black Workers & Wellness Center and include building tours, live go-go music, food vendors and community outreach booths.
    • Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 19
    • Location: ONE DC Black Workers & Wellness Center, 2500 Martin Luther King Junior Ave. SE
    • Cost: $0-20
  • Juneteenth Run & Ride 2021: The second annual Juneteenth race includes a half-marathon and 10K run on Saturday, June 19, and bike rides on Sunday, June 20, ranging from 6.19, 18 and 65 miles.
    • Time: 6:19 a.m. June 19 and 6:30 a.m. June 20
    • Location: 1820 Erie St. SE
    • Cost: Free
  • Juneteenth Jubilee 2021: This march is an event for Black conservative candidates and their supporters. Registration is required.
    • Time: 12 p.m. June 20
    • Location: Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
    • Cost: Free
  • Juneteenth Lighting for Freedom and Justice: In the days leading up to Juneteenth, the west facade of the National Cathedral will be lit in honor of the emancipation of enslaved people.
    • Time: 9 p.m. until sunrise June 15 through June 19
    • Location: The National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW
    • Cost: Free
  • Moechella Juneteenth Weekend and Unity Fest: All Juneteenth weekend, Moechella — a group that preserves the District’s go-go music legacy and its Black history — will host a party and music festival. On Friday, Audi Field will host a Rock the Block Party featuring workouts to go-go music. And on Saturday, Gateway Pavilion will host Moechella’s Unity Fest — a music festival including Junkyard, EU featuring Bear, Ambition, TOB, ABM and MTM. Vendors and food trucks will also be there.
    • Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday for Rock the Block Party; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday for Moechella’s Unity Fest
    • Locations: Audi Field for Rock the Block Party; Gateway Pavilion for Moechella Unity Fest.
    • Cost: Free

Maryland

  • Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC) Juneteenth Celebration: The march and rally will include live hip-hop performances and dozens of speakers. The BACC is a coalition of activists who work to preserve the burial ground of Black Americans and prevent further desecration of the historical Macedonia Baptist Church’s Moses African Cemetery.
    • Time: noon to 4 p.m. June 19
    • Location: Macedonia Baptist Church, 5119 River Road, Bethesda
    • Cost: Free
  • City of Laurel Juneteenth Celebration: Mayor Craig Moe and the Laurel City Council will host an afternoon of speeches and live performances. The event can also be viewed virtually on the city’s YouTube page.
    • Time: noon on June 19
    • Location: Laurel Municipal Center, 8103 Sandy Spring Road, Laurel
    • Cost: Free
  • Prince George’s County Hybrid Festival Weekend: The Department of Parks and Recreation has a number of virtual and in-person events set for the Juneteenth holiday. Online events feature an art exhibition, a panel discussion on trauma and the Black experience, and a DJ Battle. In-person events include an art-supply drive for kids and Juneteenth Mini Celebrations. Registration is required for some events.
    • Time: June 14 to June 19
    • Locations: Various locations
    • Cost: Free
  • Sandy Spring Slave Museums Juneteenth Festival: The museum will hold its annual Juneteenth celebration which will include food, vendors, music and an open house.
    • Time: June 19
    • Locations: 18524 Brooke Road, Sandy Spring, Md.

Northern Virginia

  • Alexandria Juneteenth Musical Celebration: This musical festival features performances by composers Margaret Bonds and Adolphus Hailstork, as well as narrated readings of Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr. The concert is outdoors and socially distanced.
    • Time: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 17
    • Location: The Rectory on Princess Street, 711 Princess St., Alexandria
    • Cost: $42
  • Carlyle House’s “Tell Me Your Name” Tour: The tour focuses on the experiences of the enslaved community at Carlyle House, a former plantation. Reservations are required and space is limited.
    • Time: 11 a.m. to noon on June 18
    • Location: Carlyle House, 121 North Fairfax St., Alexandria
    • Cost: $10 (Tickets are sold out, but there is a waiting list)

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He joined the WTOP newsroom in 2020 after graduating from the University of San Diego, where he studied physics and philosophy.

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