Things to Do

How to Celebrate Juneteenth in Charlotte

June 19, also known as Juneteenth, is a celebration that commemorates the end of the enslavement of African American people in the United States.

Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas - Photo courtesy of Parker Media Group

It marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved Africans that the Civil War ended and that they were free. Despite the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, many slave owners held Africans captive until the troops’ arrival to enforce the abolishment of slavery.

All over the nation, Juneteenth is celebrated through music, arts and food. In Charlotte, check out this list of local festivities celebrating Black freedom.

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Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas

Location: Citywide

Now in its 25th year, the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas is a four-day event that aims to highlight African culture and heritage in the Queen City. After arriving to Charlotte from Sengal, West Africa, in 1996, Pape Ndiaye recognized the need for a celebration in the community.

“It was not celebrated in Charlotte when I got here and with the help of the community, we’ve been able to use Juneteenth as a tool to educate people about the rich and powerful heritage of African culture,” said Ndiaye.

Ndiaye, president of the festival and owner of House of Africa, says the celebration is a way to unify people and togetherness is key. “Juneteenth isn’t just an African American holiday, but a piece of American history,” he said.

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Isayah Shalom, a board member of the festival said that everyone is welcome to celebrate. “This is a friendly and peaceful event that provides an opportunity for everyone to experience and enjoy the culture. You will not be disappointed,” he said.

This year’s events include a Children’s Culture Camp, drum circle and a peaceful march. The march will take place on June 19 at Marshall Park and end at the House of Africa, where the festival will be held. For more information visit their website here or call House of Africa at 704.376.6160.

Juneteenth celebration - Photo courtesy of Parker Media Group

Queen City Juneteenth Festival

Location: North Charlotte

“Educating, Empowering, Entertaining" is the theme of the 2021 Queen City Juneteenth Festival that will host over 40 Black-owned companies. This family-friendly event will feature crafts, food, performances, art, games, shopping and giveaways.

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Durag Fest 2021

Location: Citywide

Durag Fest is a celebration of the deconstruction, misconceptions and biases surrounding the iconic item that is “The Durag.” The festival will have food, art, musical performances by local artists, and an overall spirit of camaraderie. Events run throughout the entire day include shopping, food trucks, a Durag Hall of Fame and a Wave Content. For tickets and more information, visit their website here.

Juneteenth celebration - Photo courtesy of Parker Media Group

Belmont Juneteenth Celebration

Location: Online

Celebrate Juneteenth virtually at the 2021 Belmont Juneteenth Celebration. Join the parade or watch from the Montcross Area Chamber webcam. There will also be virtual finale concert at 7 p.m.

Photo courtesy of the Juneteenth Festival of the Carolinas

Juneteenth Jam! presented by Blumenthal Arts

Location: Uptown

Juneteenth Jam will mix art, entertainment, and Black history, featuring live music, interactive dance sessions and hip-hop performances.