Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers–led by Major General Gordon Granger–landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.
Montclair will be observing Juneteenth as a public holiday. Municipal offices will be closed Friday and a Juneteenth holiday has been added to Montclair Schools calendar. This year, Montclair is also hosting in-person and virtual events, beginning Monday, June 13, including film screenings, guest speakers and performances.
Learn more about Juneteenth with these titles for children and adults available at Montclair Public Library.
Teachers Undoing Racism Now (TURN) was instrumental in creating a week of events to recognize Juneteenth in Montclair. The events (all listed above) culminate with a main event at Rand Park on Saturday, June 18 from 12-5 p.m.
On Thursday, June 16, Nishuane and Hillside Elementary Schools join to celebrate Juneteenth with performances and activities Thursday, June 16 from 5:30-7:30 (rain or shine). Bring a lawn chair. (36 Cedar Ave., Montclair)
On Friday, June 17, (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Montclair Community PreK will host its Juneteenth Community Celebration , a picnic to celebrate community and freedom! This event will include food trucks, live performances, and family fun. Bring a blanket, enjoy performances, food and fun activities. Montclair Community PreK playground, 49 Orange Road, Montclair. Register here.
Later this month, on Sunday, June 26, at 3 pm., Montclair Art Museum will host “Jubilee — a Celebration of African-American Music,” including a performance by Emily O’Brien, a professional recorder soloist from Boston, who will perform “Oracle,” a composition by award-winning contemporary African American composer Melika Fitzhugh. Emily will be accompanied by a string quartet from APEX ensemble. $25-$35.
Also on Saturday, from 12–5pm, Newark Museum of Art will hold an outdoor Juneteenth festival inspired by Harriet Tubman featuring performers, artists, and dancers from the Black community across New Jersey.
Be part of the creation of Newark’s Harriet Tubman Monument in Washington Park by decorating ceramic tiles with your stories of freedom and liberation. The tiles will later be fired and integrated into the final design of the Monument (limited availability).
Also on Saturday, June 18, Bloomfield will hold its second annual Juneteenth Celebration, along Glennwood Avenue from Washington Street to Lackawanna Place with entertainment, a focus on Black businesses, dance lessons, and more, from noon-6 p.m., Bloomfield Center.
Maplewood and South Orange have a host of Juneteenth events including a concert with free BBQ and fireworks, and a community art project. More details here.