This year marks the second anniversary of Juneteenth National Independence Day. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed the holiday into federal law, making it the eleventh federal national holiday and the first since 1986, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was added to the roster.
Although the holiday has been celebrated in Texas and the Southern United States for generations, last year was the first time the federal government recognized it. Fort Worth’s Opal Lee is to thank for that, having walked 1,400 miles each year since 2016 to Washington D.C. to advocate for the recognition. Lee, “The Grandmother of Juneteenth,” has spent decades raising awareness of the day’s importance in many ways. She was present at the historic signage in 2021, and will be in Fort Worth on Saturday to celebrate the holiday. (Writer Trinity Hawkins recently caught up with her, which you can read here.)
Lee’s decades-long activism has inspired Juneteenth celebrations throughout the world and in her hometown. And there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the weekend, no matter where you live in North Texas.
Dallas Southern Pride Juneteenth Unity Weekend
June 16 – 19 | Multiple Locations in Dallas
It’s a great weekend to be a hip-hop head in Dallas. The celebration kicks off with a cypher party hosted by two of Houston’s finest, DJ Chose and Beatking, on Thursday the 16th. On Friday, Mr. and Ms. Dallas Southern Pride blast into the Dallas Arts District Block Party with a sickening performance. The party continues with a celebrity pool party hosted by the City Girls and Saucy Santana. Dallas’ own Erica Banks opens for Moneybagg Yo at the weekend’s mega night party. R&B superstar K. Michelle closes out the weekend with a rooftop party at the Crowne Plaza. Purchase tickets.
The Half Ain’t Never Been Told
June 17 – 19 | Latino Cultural Center
George Keaton Jr., founder and Executive Director of Remembering Black Dallas, tells the stories of Dallas’ Black past through a theatrical production. The play covers over a hundred years of the city’s racial history through the stories of Black Dallasites. Get tickets.
Denton Juneteenth Celebration
June 17 – 18 | Fred Moore Park
The university town to our north throws a family-friendly celebration to highlight local Black leaders in Denton and inform children about ways to learn more about Black history. Kids are encouraged to participate in the celebration’s coloring and T-shirt design concert. Also DJs have an opportunity to compete for a cash prize. Schedule of events.
Juneteenth Trivia Night
June 17, 7 – 10 p.m. | South Dallas Cultural Center
Bring your friends for a Juneteenth-themed game night in South Dallas. The cultural center, in partnership with UNT Black Alumni and LOFE, aims for the night to be one of celebration, fun, and recognition of Black arts and culture. The event is free to the public and BYOB, which means only 21+ are welcomed. RSVP.
North Texas Juneteenth Celebration
June 18, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. | Fair Park
Elite News and the Blair Foundation transform Fair Park into a Texas-sized Juneteenth celebration. The all-day event begins with a march from William Blair Park from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. The festival starts on the main stage at noon with musical performances. Inside the Grand Place, guests are welcomed to the beauty and wellness expo. Or head to the Auto Building for the celebration’s Auto Fest. The event is free. More info.
Opal’s Walk for Freedom
June 18, 10 a.m. | 1050 Evans Ave., Fort Worth
Join the aforementioned “Grandmother of Juneteenth” on her annual walk to commemorate the 2.5 years it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Galveston. RSVP.
For Oak Cliff Juneteenth Celebration
June 18, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. | For Oak Cliff Campus, 907 E. Ledbetter
Prepare to slap down some dominoes and play a mean game of spades at For Oak Cliff. The nonprofit will have soul food, BBQ, and William’s Chicken to fill the belly before you move and groove down the soul train line. Dallas ISD and DART will be on site with activities for adults and youth. Don’t leave without signing up for the nonprofit’s voter registration drive. Schedule of events.
Texas Black Invitational Rodeo
June 18, 7 p.m. | Fair Park Coliseum
The African American Museum brings over 300 Black cowboys and cowgirls to compete at the Texas Black Invitational Rodeo. The night begins with a historical presentation about the legacy of African Americans in the Southwestern United States. The presentation will be followed by a good ol’ fashioned Hoe Down Barbecue with musical entertainment from KimaLee Dawn, the first Black Texas Rodeo Queen. Buy tickets.
The Mount: A Photo Collection on Restoring America’s Buried Past
June 19, 3 p.m. | Daisha Board Gallery
Writer Laura Wise moderates a thoughtful conversation between journalist Rodney Hawkins and photographer Kwesi Yanful. The journalist and photographer collaborated on “The Mount: A Photo Collection on Restoring America’s Buried Past,” a photography exhibit that follows Hawkins’ journey to restore Old Mount Gillion Cemetery, a historically Black family cemetery in Nacogdoches, where Hawkins is from. The panel is free to the public.
Good & Free Block Party
June 19, 4 – 9 p.m. | 400 Block of North Tyler St., Dallas
Cause we like to party! Head to Good Cycle for a Juneteenth Block Party and Market. DJ Boy Blk, resident DJ of Meet Me Underground, will provide tunes for the celebratory day. Panther City Gold and Phvck Bein Nyce will be on site to hook you up with the iciest gold grill and crisp fit to be summertime fine. In its purest from, the market and block party is a “love letter to Blackness,” so pull up with your chosen friends and family for a good time. More info.
Juneteenth Fashion Show
June 19, 6 p.m. | Legacy Hall
Come dressed to impress for a night dedicated to Black fashion. Venny Etienne, season 17 winner of Project Runaway, serves as the night’s host. DJ Mack opens with a 30 minute DJ set. The fashion show features designs from the House of Dasha Boutique, Energy Check, PWR WMN, AND-MADE, One Street Sales, Amy Holly Kaftans, Mezai, and more. Grammy award-winner Tony Williams closes out the night with a 7 p.m. performance. Buy tickets.