Local Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth Freedom Day
On this day, Rhode Island commemorates the end of slavery in the United States through remembrance and celebration.
On June 19, 1865, thousands of enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas. Today, the day is celebrated across the country as Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. In addition, earlier this week, the Senate unanimously passed a bill establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday. Check out the different celebrations and events in Rhode Island to celebrate the very important day.
Kin’s Third Annual Juneteenth Block Party
Join Kin Southern Table and Bar in Providence on Friday, June 16, for a Juneteenth Block Party. Head over to 71 Washington Street any time between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. to enjoy classic Southern and soul food dishes and specialty cocktails while enjoying games, live entertainment, vibes by DJ Ladyruck, DJ Rukiz and DJ D-Wun, and dancing. Admission is free for children $12 and younger or $5 for adults. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit kinpvd.com/juneteenth.
Fifth Annual Juneteenth RI Celebration
Celebrate Juneteenth all weekend long leading up to the actual day with live music, food and family fun at Juneteenth RI’s annual festival. The organization’s mission “is to collectively celebrate African American liberations, accomplishments and contributions through education, effective communication, inner strength and endurance through observance of Juneteenth.”
Things kick off on Friday, June 16, with a ticketed comedy show featuring D’Lai at the Providence Career & Technical Academy at 7 p.m. You may recognize the show’s featured guest as the 2004 Vegas Star Search winner, or from appearances on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam”, BET’s “ComicView” and Kevin Hart’s Laughing Out Loud Network. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.
On Saturday, June 17, you can join Black Studies scholar Marco McWilliams for a Black History Walking Tour of Providence. The walk begins at 10 a.m., convening and stepping off from the historic Olney Street Baptist Church and continuing through the gentrified crossroads of Providence’s East Side. The one-and-a-half hour tour will explore Black institution-building as a configuration of resistance, as well as the ways in which institutionalized legal, economic and social power sought to circumscribe Black Rhode Islanders’ lives. The tour is free to join, but organizers kindly ask those interested to RSVP in advance here.
The 17th will also play host to YOUth Day at the Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence from 12 to 3 p.m.. The children-centered day will feature cultural readings, fun activities, ethnic books, ice cream, pizza, face painting, DJ-spun tunes and dancing. Again there is no fee to attend, but you are encouraged to RSVP here.
Finally, the celebrations will culminate with the fifth annual Juneteenth RI Festival on Sunday, June 18, at Roger Williams Park’s Temple to Music. Swing by the free event from 12 to 8 p.m. for great food and company, as well as a performance by American gospel and R&B singer Kelly Price.
For more information, visit juneteenthri.com.
Revival Day with Mixed Magic Theatre
Mixed Magic Theatre is asking Rhode Islanders a very important question: Have you ever seen an amphitheater rock? At 6 p.m., on both Saturday, June 17, and Sunday, June 18, the Pawtucket-based theatre plans to do just that with their Juneteenth celebration. Tickets are $25 each and will afford attendees the chance to sit back and enjoy as the theatre’s award-winning Exult Choir covers gospel and eclectic music that’s bold and uplifting. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit its EventBrite page.
Linden Place Mansion Free Walking Tours
Linden Place will offer free tours of its 200-year-old property on Saturday, June 17 from to commemorate Juneteenth. The day will include tow forty-five minute guided tours at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. along with self-guided audio tours (the last beginning at 1:15 p.m.) Through tours like these, Linden Place seeks to raise public awareness about Rhode Island’s involvement in the business of slavery and acknowledge the enslaved Africans who contributed to our country’s cultural and economic development. Visitors will learn about the Linden Place’s original owners, the DeWolf family, and their history in the slave trade, as well as subsequent residents of the historic Federal-style home. For more information, visit lindenplace.org.
From Free to Freedom: A Juneteenth Celebration at PPAC
In collaboration with JuneteenthRI, Mixed Magic Theatre, Rhode Island Black Storytellers and the Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, the Providence Performing Arts Center is hosting a special Wonders of the Wurliter lunch time concert called “From Free to Freedom: A Juneteenth Celebration” on Monday, June 19, at noon. The performance is free to all and will feature PPAC House Organist Peter Edwin Krasinski on the Wurlitzer and Ricardo Pitts-Wiley as narrator, as well as the JuneteenthRI Choir and Storyteller Rachel Briggs. For more information, visit ppacri.org/outreach/wonders-of-the-wurlitzer.