On Sunday, June 19, all library locations will be closed for Juneteenth. This national, state, and Oak Park holiday celebrates African Americans’ freedom from enslavement in the United States.
Oak Park events
Celebrate Juneteenth Storytime, June 9, 10-11 am, Scoville Park (outside the Main Library). Celebrate Freedom Day outside the library with Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin and Community Engagement Coordinator Jenny Jackson. We’ll have call-and-response singing, dancing, and Juneteenth literature, plus a puppet or two!
Juneteenth Flag-Raising Ceremony, Saturday, June 11, 12-1:30 pm, Village Hall courtyard, 123 Madison St. The ceremony will include speeches, live music and a dance performance. Free and open to the public.
Celebrating Black Futures: Performance, Art & Conversation, Thursday, June 16, 7-8:30 pm, Main Library Veterans Room (and virtually on Zoom). Visual artist Tia Etu, rapper F.U.R.Y., fine art photographer Tye Moores, and rapper Jsteezzy will share live performance, art, and intergenerational conversation in celebration of Black futures and Juneteenth.
Artist Reception for Tia Etu, Saturday, June 18, 1–3 pm, Main Library Idea Box. Local artist Tia Etu will unveil a new Juneteenth-inspired artwork, The Call, commissioned for the library’s permanent art collection. The exhibit runs through the end of June and will include a range of other artwork by Etu, which captures social inequities in powerful and unique ways.
Juneteenth Parade and Community Picnic, Sunday, June 19. Oak Park’s Juneteenth celebration culminates with a parade and community picnic at Taylor Park.
- Parade: Steps off at 11 am from Longfellow Park near Jackson Boulevard and will march north on Ridgeland Avenue to Augusta Street. Look for the Oak Park Book Bike and library staff marching in the parade along with other community groups. Sign up to march in the parade »
- Picnic: Following the parade, a community picnic will be held throughout the afternoon at Taylor Park, 400 Division St.
More local celebrations
Juneteenth Ceremony, Monday, June 13, 11:30-12:30 pm, River Forest Public Library, River Forest
The Village of River Forest will honor the Juneteenth holiday with a flag-raising ceremony and community social event. Refreshments from Addis Café will be provided. Free and open to the public.
Juneteenth Food Fest, Saturday, June 18, Proska Park, Berwyn
Berwyn’s second annual free cultural event centered in Black history & culture. This year’s theme is Food Crosses Many Rivers: High on the Hog. The event will showcase food, food forests and the cooking traditions of African and American cuisine, demonstrated by local vendors.
More about Juneteenth
Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, is now a federal, state, and Oak Park village holiday. It commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when a U.S. Army general in Galveston, Texas, read orders that all enslaved people were free–two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them.
Oak Park Juneteenth 2020 Proclamation
In 2020, Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin read the Village of Oak Park proclamation to recognize June 19 as Juneteenth every year. It resolves “that the Village of Oak Park supports the celebration of Juneteenth both financially and in spirit from this day forward.” Watch the video & read the proclamation »
Hope of Juneteenth documentary
The locally produced documentary Hope of Juneteenth celebrates the history and joy of Juneteenth, and the promise of hope for the future it brings. The documentary, which our Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin helped make, was directed and produced by Forest Park community leader Marjorie Adam, funded by Riveredge Hospital, and supported by Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins.
Resources we suggest
“How we Juneteenth” & “Juneteenth Jamboree”
- The New York Times: Juneteenth collection of photos, poetry, and articles about Juneteenth (read full New York Times coverage for free through our library, from anywhere »)
- PBS Austin: “Juneteenth Jamboree” website with historical and celebratory videos