Honoring Juneteenth: Where Boston is Celebrating Emancipation

By Rory Lambert-Wright

June 13, 2021

Juneteenth has an increasingly robust presence in the American consciousness and popular media, but for African Americans, its resurgence has special meaning. Many Black people may even ask, “what resurgence?”, as June 19th has been celebrated as the official establishment of emancipation since it was formally announced in Galveston Texas, 1865. We did not make the collective decision to define our cultural experience by slavery. That choice was taken from us when we were taken from West Africa. However, the freedom won by our predecessors affords us the choice to decide how we reckon with our history, and how we shape our culture moving forward. In Boston, this Juneteenth is marked by a large number of events for the descendants of those who were robbed of everything but their color and humanity to mourn, reflect, and celebrate. We’ve curated a selection of these events below:

The Morning Show

9am-3pm Saturday June 19th

1015 Truman Parkway, Hyde Park

An incredible, lively and happening celebration is guaranteed at the Morning show this Juneteenth. For music lovers, there will be musical performances from local artists like Milkshaw Benedict, Tamera King, and Tomo. An open mic will be taking place for those who have talent they’d like to share, and a yoga session and meditation will be taking place as well- bring a mat if you have one!

If you’re hungry, access to the breakfast bar is available for just $1.

Gifted Travel Arts and Business Showcase

7PM-10pm Saturday, June 19th

Nubian Square (Register for Address)

If you have a business, trade, or skill you’d like to market, this one is for you. Presented by the Gifted Travel LLC, a travel startup in Boston, this inaugural Juneteenth event will feature trade displays and performances, and opportunities to meet enterprising people in industries from music to visual arts to tech. To register as a vendor, email your name, number, and essential information about your busines or trade to thegiftedtravel.qaqc@gmail.com. This event will abide by covid safety guidelines and it is asked that attendees wear masks.

Love Letters to the Ancestors: A Celebration

10am-12pm, Saturday, June 19th

(Virtual event via Zoom)

Presented by Saafyr of Sharing Our Stories and the Survivor Theatre Project, this intimate remote event will give those who attend a space to commune with, mourn, and honor the Black and Indigenous ancestors and survivors of imperialism, colonialism, and genocide. The meeting will be guided by meditation, and will center a writing session to those enslaved. To register, email martharogersmusic@gmail.com. As limited spaces are available, priority of registration will be given to survivors of the BIPOC LGBTQIA community.

Celebrating The Life of Dwayne Corey Ross: Vigil and Live Mural Event

11am-7pm, Saturday June 19th , Ripley Playground, Dorchester

This Juneteenth event will celebrate recently passed community member and superb visual artist Dwayne Corey Ross. Also known by his artistic alias XEROX, Ross worked and created alongside many Boson street artists. Several of his contemporaries will be honoring him by creating a mural at this service for those who knew him, his work, and his name to reflect upon.

Funk The Police – Juneteenth Edition

5-8pm, Saturday, June 19th

Ronan Park, Mt. Ida Road, Dorchester

Organized by Massachusetts Peace Action and Mass Action Against Police Brutality, this spirited music showcase and rally is being held in honor of families who have lost loved ones to police violence. Proceeds will go towards the MPA’s goal of sending a delegation of mothers to the National Mother’s March in Minneapolis, a city mired in a fight against endemic violence by their police force.

Inaugural Juneteenth Cookout: Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU)

12pm, Saturday, June 19th

Franklin Park Zoo entrance

America owes its existence and economic development to its horrific exploitation of Black labor. The emancipation of this enslaved laboring class, and consequently Juneteenth are products of Black labor as well. The CBTU is an independent voice for Black labor in the modern day. The emerging Boston Chapter, which began organizing in 2020, invites all local Black trade unionists, families, and friends to attend a free Juneteenth cookout at Franklin Park. To RSVP, reach out to cbtuboston@gmail.com.

Black Feminisms Part 1: Freedom Fête: Juneteenth Virtual Party

1-5pm, Saturday June 19th

Online event

This event curated by artist Cierra Michele Peters features Black and Queer DJs from Boston and across the US, who will fexplore historical and contemporary Black contributions to music in their sets. This will also be a fundraising event for Black grassroots advocacy groups like Ujima Boston and For the Gworls. You can donate to the fund and register at Freedom Fête’s gofundme, which can be found via @earthaclit on Instagram.


Community Kickback(s) by FTP Boston!

Community BBQ Kickback 3-6pm @ Titus Sparrow Park

Music, Open Mic & Performances 8-11pm @ Titus Sparrow Park

Kickbacks are back! Titus Sparrow Park from 8-11pm on Juneteenth! And they're looking for volunteers to help them facilitate the space and event! Click here to volunteer. THESE ARE BLACK CENTERED SPACES! They've got free food, free clothes, vendors, performers, a dope DJ, and an open mic! you don’t want to miss it! FTP is partnering with Black Boston to bring the celebration to you all day long! Check out the Community BBQ at the same location from 3-6PM.


Check out all the art and columns of June's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass