President Lincoln abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, however it wasn’t until two years later on June 19, 1865 that slaves in Texas were officially free. Also known as Juneteenth, Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021. Events honoring Juneteenth include both the week leading up to the date, and this year, Monday, June 20 many government offices closed.
Here are family-friendly activities happening celebrating Juneteenth this weekend:
- Friday, 6/17: Juneteenth Celebration at the Sun Prairie Public Library 1:30-3:30 p.m. Includes readings of Opal Lee and What It Means To Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth. Event includes art activity by Auzzie Dodson, cultural creator studying art at University of Wisconsin – Madison. Free for all to attend.
- Friday, 6/17: Make Art on the Terrace at University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin Memorial Union 4-7 p.m.. Free art projects with a focus on Juneteenth.
- Saturday, 6/18: Saturday Science at Kujichagulia Juneteenth Celebration, Community Science Fair at Penn Park, Madison. Event takes places 12-4 p.m. Includes hands-on science activities, meet UW scientists, and more.
- Friday, 6/17: Juneteenth Celebration on Central Mall, 12-4 p.m. Includes music, drum performances, food, and children’s activities.
- Saturday, 6/18: Black Diaspora Symphony Orchestra Juneteenth concert at Central United Methodist Church 4:30-7 p.m. Event includes a pre-concert talk about the music that will played followed by a concert covering five pieces of music.
- Sunday, 6/19: Juneteenth Parade and Festival at Northcott Neighborhood House 9 a.m.-4. p.m. Includes parade that starts at 9 a.m. followed by food, clothing vendors, music, and dancing.
PBS Kids shares a list of Juneteenth children’s books on its website. The children’s book The Juneteenth Story by Alliah L. Agostini, included on the PBS booklist, is also listed on Madison Reading Projects’ June Books We Love booklist.