At 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, President Joe Biden will sign a bill to declare Juneteenth a federal holiday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, in the U.S. House and Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, in the U.S. Senate, declares “Juneteenth Independence Day” as the country’s 12th federal holiday. The historic signing is credited to Opal Lee of Fort Worth, known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” who campaigned for years to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
For Black Texans, Juneteenth celebrations have existed since 1865. The rest of the country is just catching up. For those unfamiliar with the day of remembrance, I encourage you to learn about the holiday’s origins and find ways to support Dallas’ and Texas’ Black communities. I’ve compiled a list of events in Dallas-Fort Worth for Juneteenth below. For some additional local background, Dr. Deborah Hopes of Remembering Black Dallas shared with FrontBurner what the holiday means for Dallas earlier this week.
Juneteenth Walk at For Oak Cliff
June 19, 8:30 a.m.
Walk with Lauren Cross, an artist recently featured in Nasher Public‘s series, from the For Oak Cliff campus on 907 E. Ledbetter Dr. A cross installation featured at the campus draws inspiration from summers in Galveston, the birthplace of the holiday, with her grandparents. The 2.5 mile walk kicks off at 8:30 a.m.
Juneteenth Festival at Fair Park
June 19, 11 a.m.
Attend the inaugural Juneteenth festival at Fair Park. The celebration begins with a community march from William Blair Jr. Park at 11 a.m. This launches a day of activities that include a Negro League Baseball exhibit, a health and wellness expo, and a headlining performance by R&B artist Lyfe Jennings.
#BLACKDOLLAR, Juneteenth – Black Liberty Experience
June 19, 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Network with Black businesses, creatives, and entrepreneurs at the Black Liberty Experience. The nighttime event features a workshop on reform and installations from local Black artists. All ticket proceeds go towards The United Peoples Coalition. The event is at Royal Lane Studios, at 1135 East Avenue J in Grand Prairie.
Juneteenth Celebration at Dallas Heritage Village
June 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Learn about the emancipation of Harriet Mason. Dallas Heritage Village will show a viewing of her historic light of emancipation that occurred at the Gano Farmstead, which resides on the park’s campus.
Black Fashion Movement at Galleria Dallas
June 17 – 20, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The Black Fashion Movement, a Black-owned designers collective offer a luxury pop-up experience at Galleria Dallas. Dallas based Black owned fashion brands, such as Serita Jakes Home, Don Morphy, Sai Sankoh, and Dawn Franklin Designs will be available for purchase.
Dallas Southern Pride’s Juneteenth Unity Weekend
June 18 – June 19
Dallas Southern Pride’s annual weekend takes over the Sheraton Suites at Market Center, headlined by a Saturday night concert at Gilley’s with Rick Ross, Lil Kim, Young M.A., Beat King, Kash Doll, and a DJ set by Erykah Badu. Schedule below, details here. Tickets will be available at the door.
Friday, June 18, 2021
- Welcome Reception | 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. | Sheraton Suites Market Center
Saturday, June 19, 2021
- DSP After Dark | 2 a.m. – 4 a.m. | Sheraton Suites Market Center
- Pool and Block Party | 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Sheraton Suites Market Center
- Mega Party | 10 p.m. -3 a.m. | Gilley’s Dallas
Best Southwest Juneteenth Celebration
June 19, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
DeSoto, Lancaster, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville join forces every year for a Juneteenth celebration. This year’s is in DeSoto at Grimes Park, at 501 E. Wintergreen Rd., and features a performance from Howard Hewett of Shalamar. Gates open at 5 p.m. More info here.
Legacy West’s Juneteenth Fest
June 19, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Support local Black vendors at Legacy West in Plano. Melanated Candle Co., LW Natural Beauty, Granny’s Scratch Kitchen and more will be on-site with items available for purchase. Tonya Baker, Rodney Sherman, and a roster of Black musicians will provide music for the afternoon marketplace.
Black Artists Only: Juneteenth Art Show & Celebration of Black Lives
June 19, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Purchase artwork from Elizabeth Hill, Dejion Duncan, and MOM at Trade Oak Cliff’s Juneteenth Art Show. Receive a tarot reading from Sensual Sage. And buy some baked goods from FrontRow favorite The Butter Fairy.
Pride and Juneteenth: Celebrating Underrepresented Artists
June 19, 1:30 p.m.
Hear Charles Santos, Executive Director of TITAS/DANCE UNBOUND, in conversation with a panel of Black LGBTQ+ artists at the Winspear Opera House for an intersectional conversation on arts and culture. The panelists will discuss ways the arts community can benefit LGBTQ+ and Black art professionals.
DSO Presents Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom and Diversity
June 18 – 20, 7:30 p.m.
Listen to musical compositions from prominent Black composers at DSO’s celebration concert for Juneteenth. Jeff Tyzik conducts the orchestra, with vocal performances by Kearstin Piper Brown and Kevin Deas at the Meyerson Symphony Center.