5 Ways to Commemorate Juneteenth in The Palm Beaches

May 26, 2021

Celebrate Juneteenth in The Palm Beaches with live performances, educational workshops, family-friendly festivals and more.

Juneteenth is a cultural commemoration acknowledging the end of slavery in the USA. It recognizes the moment on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger and 1,800 Union Army troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved persons were free, finally delivering the news of emancipation. The announcement was celebrated the following year in Galveston and has evolved into a nationwide holiday celebrated annually on the third Saturday in June, including with a growing number of events in The Palm Beaches.

The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum’s annual Juneteenth celebration returns in 2021 with a special concert at Arts Garage in Delray Beach. On Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m., renowned blues singer Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen will perform a two-set concert, followed by a “Talk Back” session focused on women and music with vocalist, composer and author Dr. Joan Cartwright. Concert tickets range from $40 - $50 and can be purchased online or by calling 561.450.6357.

 Pat 'Mother Blues' Cohen performing at the 2017 Spady Cultural Heritage Festival
Pat "Mother Blues" Cohen performing at the 2017 Spady Cultural Heritage Festival

In June, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach will also launch Celebrating Black Florida, a tribute to the art and cultural histories of Black Floridians, featuring live performances, virtual programs, art workshops and more. The main event, a festival to be held Saturday, June 19, will be hosted by MC Wayne “Mister Trombone” Perry and feature live music, museum tours, African Dance and Drum workshops, storytelling sessions, and a creative community art project with fiber mixed media artist Gillian Kennedy Wright. The June series of events includes special Art After Dark installments, family-friendly educational events, art workshops, mural tours and more, all featuring Black artists and scholars. For the complete schedule and to register for events, visit norton.org starting June 1.

Wayne “Mister Trombone” Perry
Wayne “Mister Trombone” Perry, host of the Norton Museum's Juneteenth festival

Organized by Juneteenth of PBC, Inc., Riviera Beach will be hosting its first-ever Juneteenth event. Aimed at commemorating the past and finding inspiration in the future, the Unity X Black Excellence Festival will be held at the Riviera Beach Marina Village Event Center from 1 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 19. Billed as a day of good vibes and a celebration of Black culture and history, the free event will feature live music, food vendors and local Black-owned businesses, as well as community resources.

The long-awaited Rohi’s Readery will open at Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach on Friday, June 18, timed in honor of Juneteenth. Touted as the country’s first social justice driven children's bookstore, it will be dedicated to fostering a critical literacy that promotes inclusivity and diversity. The curated selection of books will be focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racist practice, as well as books with characters in shades of Black and Brown, shedding light on those with disabilities, representing the LGBTQIA+ community, and presenting authentic historical content that has been previously suppressed. Additionally, on Sunday, June 13 at noon, Rohi’s Readery will present Revolutionary Storytime at The Wishing Tree in Rosemary Square featuring a book introducing the history and relevance of Juneteenth. The event will also include a mini-lesson aimed at creating engaging conversations.

Storytime with Rohi's Readery at Rosemary Square
Storytime with Rohi's Readery at Rosemary Square; photo by Van Richardson

Lastly, the Village of Wellington and the Sickle Cell Foundation of Palm Beach County will present the first “Redteenth” event on Saturday, June 19, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Wellington Amphitheater. This free event will educate visitors on the mission of the Sickle Cell Foundation and its efforts in the community, as well as celebrate the history and significance of Juneteenth. The event will feature spoken word artists, musical acts, and educational and motivational speakers, in addition to children’s activities, food trucks and vendors. To attend this event, guests are asked to sign up via the Sickle Cell Foundation’s Eventbrite page.

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