If you’re looking for an opportunity to come together in community, recognize the past, and celebrate the freedom of Black Americans, there are tons of events happening across North Carolina this weekend.
Although Abraham Lincoln may have issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862, it took more than two years for that order to be enforced across the country. Freedom for the last enslaved Black Americans who’d yet to hear the news didn’t arrive until June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers made it to Galveston, Texas.
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Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, honors that day. If you’re looking for an opportunity to come together in community, recognize the past, and celebrate the freedom of Black Americans, there are tons of events happening across North Carolina this weekend. We’ve chosen five to spotlight—though a quick Google search of “Juneteenth events near me” will certainly help you discover one near you to go and support.
Location: Chatham County Fairgrounds, Pittsboro
Head to Pittsboro to celebrate Juneteenth through the lens of art, culture, and innovation at the 6th annual Black Arts Festival. This year’s theme is “Recognizing Our Roots, Our Family, & Our Black Culture.” This will be a comprehensive display of African American artwork, crafts, music, dance, and performances. Participate in a heritage walk, Black business expo, and indulge in mouthwatering soul food selections from food trucks across the state.
Location: Plaza Midwood, Charlotte
Discover a week full of FREE diverse events at the Juneteenth Festival Of The Carolinas, where a variety of events will be held in the vibrant heart of Plaza Midwood, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Usher yourself into this weekend full of celebration this Friday with music from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Drum Circle with international drummers, and enjoy the annual talent show. Saturday is a day packed with events from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Join in at the Grady Cole Center for the Juneteenth Freedom March for Peace & Unity, an international fashion show, dance performances, a health fair, and so much more.
There will be shuttle pick-ups on the hour on Saturday, June 17th from (7 a.m. – 11 p.m.) and Sunday, June 18th (9 a.m.-10 p.m.) from the following locations:
Skyla Credit Union-718 Central Ave.
First Care Medical Clinic 2938 the Plaza
Little Rock AME Zion Church (Shuttle pick up only on Saturday, June 17th (10 a.m.-10 p.m.)
Join the Capital City Juneteenth Celebration for a week full of events. Friday, you can drop in at the NC Museum of History for an afternoon of activities, where you can meet US Colored Light Artillery Civil War reenactors, explore museum exhibits, and witness Neal Thomas creating split-oak baskets reminiscent of those used in early Juneteenth celebrations. Or if you’re looking for something good to eat you can head over to the Fish Fry at Dorothea Dix Park, hosted by Chef James Guilford, where he will cook authentic wood-fired eastern North Carolina BBQ in addition to serving fish sandwiches with vinegar-based coleslaw and refreshing lemonade for $10. If food, and reenactments are not quite your lane but you love good music you can experience the uplifting Juneteenth Joy 2023: A Celebration of Freedom and Gospel Music at the NC Museum of Art, featuring sensational performances by The Clark Sisters, John P. Kee, Pastor Shirley Caesar, and special guest Charles Jenkins, starting at 7 p.m.
Location: Mebane Community Park
Come celebrate Juneteenth with the thriving Mebane community Saturday, June 17 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Mebane Community Park. Live music, thought-provoking speakers, locally owned businesses, and a variety of backyard games like Four Person Volleyball and Giant Jenga will help you get into the spirit of freedom. This celebration offers something for everyone to enjoy and learn about the rich history of Juneteenth, while fellowshipping with the community.
Location: North Carolina Central University
Don’t miss the Bull City Juneteenth parade, a fantastic free event happening on Fayetteville Street in front of North Carolina Central University’s campus, located at 1801 Fayetteville St. The parade will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., promising a vibrant celebration of Juneteenth alongside the Victor Company.
The Victor Company, founded in 1870 during the Civil War, is a local nonprofit made of current and retired firefighters of color. Initially formed by formerly enslaved individuals, it was one of two fire companies of color in Raleigh. Today, The Victor Company prioritizes community engagement and public outreach.
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