Juneteenth Guide for Chicago Families

There are many ways to learn and celebrate Freedom Day on June 19 with your kids.

The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, but it took two and half years to ensure that all enslaved people in America were freed. Texas remained the last state to not put the executive order in effect until federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865.

Now, 158 years later, Juneteenth is one of the oldest holidays celebrating the abolition of slavery. Juneteenth has long been celebrated all over the country and, since 2021, it has been considered an official state holiday in Illinois.

There are many ways to learn and celebrate the holiday with your family in 2023. We’ve rounded up some Juneteenth family activities including events, crafts, books to read and more.

Events

Across the Chicago area, there are many local organizations and businesses throwing Juneteenth events for families. Here are some more Juneteenth events in Chicagoland and find the latest events added to our calendar.

21st Juneteenth Celebration at Bronzeville Children’s Museum

June 17, 2023

This annual celebration offers activities for the children including storytelling, music, balloons, crafts and a balloon release.

Juneteenth Village Fest at Anna & Frederick Douglass Park

June 18, 2023

Enjoy a family-friendly Juneteenth event at Anna & Frederick Douglass Park. It will feature carnival rides, local performers, food vendors, community-based organizations and resources, activities for all ages and more.

1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical at University of Chicago, Logan Center for the Arts

June 19, 2023

This Juneteenth musical uses various forms of music including hip-hop, blues and jazz. It commemorates the struggle for equality and celebrates the story of African American sons and daughters.

Juneteenth Freedom Ride on the Major Taylor Trail at Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center

June 19, 2023

Come out and celebrate Juneteenth with the Forest Preserves of Cook County on the Major Taylor Trail. Choose from an 8-mile bike ride or a 16-mile round trip ride on paved trails. Children must be accompanied by an adult and helmets must be worn by all participants.

The Du’s 3rd Annual Juneteenth Community BBQ at DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

June 19, 2023

This annual Juneteenth Festival will offer music performances, food and drinks, inflatables, giveaways, games, petting zoo, horseback riding and more.

Homewood-Flossmoor Juneteenth Festival at Homewood-Flossmoor High School Parking Lot

June 17, 2023

The HF Juneteenth Festival is a celebration of African American culture as expressed through food, music, dance and arts.

Juneteenth Celebration at Rotary Hill

June 17, 2023

This kid-friendly event at Rotary Hill will commemorate the emancipation of African Americans from slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth Independent Festival at Festival Park

June 17, 2023

Join Elgin Cultural Arts Commission and the African-American Coalition of Kane County for their Juneteenth Celebration. There will be live bands, vendors, a kids zone and more.

More Activities

While there are plenty of events to experience around Chicagoland, there are even more ways to celebrate Black culture and history at local institutions — on Juneteenth and beyond!

The DuSable

The DuSable Museum of African American is hosting a Juneteenth celebration that offers something for everyone. Enjoy the community BBQ and listen to the sounds of an African drum village gathering. Learn at a DuBook Nook story time presentation or enjoy free activities like a petting zoo and horseback riding. There will also be free health services on-site, including diabetes and blood pressure testing. While you’re visiting, reserve time to view The March, which offers a virtual reality experience of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Black-Owned Businesses for Chicago Families

Chicago is filled with some amazing Black-owned businesses including clothing stores, restaurants, salons, exercise studios and more. Support a Black-owned business and the local economy by patronizing one of these great establishments.

Read an Anti-Racism or Black History Book

From learning about tolerance and anti-racism to the complex history of Black Americans in our country, reading with your child is a great way to help them understand why Juneteenth is celebrated. Start with one of these anti-racism books for kids of all ages, then check out a Black history book about the important contributions of Black leaders, innovators and freedom fighters in America. 

All One Tribe

This album will features 24 Black family musicians including Chicagoland-based musician, Nanny Nikki.


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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.

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