Celebrating Juneteenth in Springfield Illinois | Springfield, Illinois | Visit Springfield

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Juneteenth: Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Heritage

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is observed annually on June 19th. The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas, where on June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, announcing the end of slavery in Texas, and nearly two & a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Juneteenth became a federal across the country and state holiday in Illinois in 2021.

Springfield, like some many other communities across the country, celebrates Juneteenth.  2024 will mark 30 years since the first Juneteenth celebration in Springfield.  And to commemorate, organizers have set up a week-long celebration. Check out these events throughout Springfield from June 12th to June 19th.

6/12 Juneteenth Talent Show: Held at the Lincoln Library (the Springfield public library), participants will showcase their skills in poetry, dance, music and many other areas of artistic expression.

6/13 Juneteenth Celebration Levitt Amp Concert: Held on the “Y-block” just North of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion, the Levitt Amp is a popular FREE outdoor Summer concert series.  The June 13th show will feature special act Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, as well as food vendors and information from community organizations.

6/14 Freeish Lunch and Learn Panel w/UIS Center Lincoln Studies: The event will be held at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from Noon-2pm.

6/14 Juneteenth Celebration Museum Party:  The Illinois State Museum be your host for games and community art projects from 10am-2pm.

6/14 Mr. & Miss. Juneteenth Pageant: Held at the auditorium of the Springfield Southeast High School, the pageant encourages youth to express their values and diverse backgrounds.

6/15 Annual Juneteenth Celebration Unity Parade: Join us for this annual tradition.  The parade begins at Martin Luther King Jr Drive & South Grand Ave and finishes at Comer Cox Park.

6/15 Juneteenth Car & Bike Show: Get your car, motorcycle, truck, or jeep ready for the Juneteenth Celebration.  The show will take place at American Legion Post 809 (1800 E Capitol Street).  Just across from Comer Cox Park

6/15-6/16 Juneteenth Park Celebration Days: Immediately after the parade, join the festivities at Comer Cox Park.  The park will be bustling with vendors, community organizations and activities for the whole family both days.  Day 1 of the park celebration caps off with a free concert from Morris Day and The Time. Day 2 of the celebration kicks off with an outdoor revival/church service at 10am and Fitness in the Park later in the day. 

6/15 & 6/17-6/19 Emancipation Proclamation Display: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library will have a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln on display for public viewing. 

6/15 & 6/19 The Nature of Freedom: A Literary Commemoration of Juneteenth: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum will host "The Nature of Freedom: A literary commemoration of Juneteenth". This is a readers theater piece; a style of theater in which the actors present the script without costumes, scenery, or special lighting.  This will be peformed in the Union Theater at the ALPLM with daytime performances June 15th (with paid admission). On June 19th there will be a daytime (admission is free on June 19th) and evening performance. 

6/17 Stop the Violence Community Panel: This event will be held at One in a Million Inc (700 S Livingston St).

6/18 Youth Day Camp: Organizers have set up special day camps for the youth of the community from 10am-3pm.  This event will be held at Route History (737 E Cook Street).

6/18 Community Discussion with Author Annette Gordon Reid: Join the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for a discussion of Annette Gordon Reid's book "On Juneteenth" at 6pm. 

6/19 Juneteenth Freedom Walk: In honor of Juneteenth, Lincoln Land Community College is hosting their second annual Freedom Walk.  The walk is 1.25 miles around the campus and participants are encouraged to wear Juneteenth colors, red, green, gold, and black.

6/19  Juneteenth Youth Breakfast: Lifting up future leaders!  The Lincoln Land Community College Trutter Center will host the breakfast with speakers from the community.  This is a ticketed event.

6/19 Free Admission at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum: The ALPLM is offering free admission on June 19th during normal museum hours.

6/19 Juneteenth at Henson Robinson Zoo: In honor of Juneteenth, Henson Robinson Zoo is inviting everyone to celebrate as a community and connect with nature.  The zoo will be offering free admission for all ages.

Please join us for these events as we celebrate the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice that Juneteenth represents.