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, 156 years later, Juneteenth is one of the oldest holidays celebrating the abolition of slavery. Juneteenth has long been celebrated all over the country and this year, it’s considered an official  state holiday in Illinois.

There are many ways to learn and celebrate the holiday with your family in 2022. We’ve rounded up some Juneteenth family activities including events, crafts, books to read and more.


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.

Juneteenth Village Fest at Anna & Frederick Douglass Park

June 12, 2022

Enjoy a family-friendly Juneteenth event at Anna & Frederick Douglass Park. It will feature games, carnival rides, petting zoo, rock climbing wall, inflatables, face painting, food and more.

1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical at Vittum Theater

June 17-19, 2022

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 Extravaganza on Ellis

June 19, 2022

There will be music, vendors, games, food and more at this family-friendly event for Juneteenth.


Juneteenth is an important holiday to discuss as a family as we continue to raise anti-racist kids. Here are some Juneteenth books below to add to your family home library.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

  • Best for ages: 5-9

All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth celebration with beautiful illustrations and through a perspective of a young girl.

Juneteenth for Mazie, by Floyd Cooper

  • Best for ages: 6-9

Mazie is celebrating Freedom Day and while she’s tried hearing “no” from her father, he explains to her how her great-great-grandpa Mose heard no even more until he was finally free from slavery.

Juneteenth, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson

  • Best for ages: 7-10

Why was June 19, 1865 such a significant day for enslaved people in Texas? This picture book explains the significance of the Texas event and how it became a holiday celebrated nationally.

Juneteeth Jamboree, by Carole Boston Weatherford

  • Best for ages: 8-12

Cassie joins her family to a Juneteenth celebration in their community. There, she learns more about the Texas tradition and why it took so long for enslaved people in the state to hear the news of the Emancipation Proclamation.

More Activities

While there are plenty of events and books to take in, there are even more ways to celebrate Black culture and history at local institutions on Juneteenth and beyond.

The March

The DuSable Museum of African American plans to reopen on Juneteenth with a celebration for the holiday and the museum’s 60th anniversary. 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 and more. Also, South Loop store, Kido, is selling Juneteenth onsies and tees that look amazing!

All One Tribe

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

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