The month of June is a time for many things — Pride Month, the start of summer, Father’s Day, and Juneteenth, which is now a federal holiday. It is important to remember the history behind Juneteenth in both New Jersey and beyond through discussions and Juneteenth events. Essex County is set to host numerous events to celebrate and commemorate the freedom fought for and won so many years ago. We have a list of events, fairs, walks, and more to celebrate Juneteenth in Essex County, New Jersey.
This is a growing list. If you have an event to add, send us an email at email@example.com.
History of Juneteenth
Juneteenth may be the latest federal holiday added to the American calendar, but its roots date back to 1865. The holiday gets its name from the blending of the two words in the date, “June” and “Nineteenth,” and it honors the emancipation of enslaved Africans here in the United States. Slaves were freed country-wide in January 1863. However, news and enforcement of freedom relied heavily on the government structure and Union Troop presence per state. Texas was the furthest state from the proclamation, having very little Union presence and blatant opposition to freeing slaves. As such, it was the last of the states to inform slaves they were free.
While Black Americans have faced oppression since their unwarranted arrival here in the U.S., June 19th marks a day of freedom and independence. In many communities, this day has been celebrated for decades. Now, the entire country is invited to join in to celebrate Black culture, learn about the history, and understand the past and current struggles of this race.
Read More: The History of Juneteenth in Montclair
Juneteenth Celebration at Montclair Brewery | 101 Walnut Street, Montclair
June 16th – June 18th
Live music, art showcases, and soul food at 101 Walnut Street in Montclair. Learn more here.
Juneteenth Flag Raising + Festival | 66 Main Street, West Orange
June 17th | 11AM – 2PM
This ceremony is a Juneteenth celebration experience in West Orange. It will include a flag raising and festival. Click here for more info on this event.
Juneteenth Exhibit Chat and Walking Tour
June 17th | 12PM – 2PM
Newark Public Library will be hosting this event that will discuss the legacies of slavery and more. Learn more here.
Bloomfield Juneteenth Celebration | Glenwood Avenue, Bloomfield
June 17th | 12PM – 6PM
The city of Bloomfield is ready to celebrate Juneteenth. The 3rd annual festival will be a celebration of Black-owned businesses in the area and a day of fun. Live entertainment, the history of Juneteenth, and other actvities will make up the festivities. Learn more about the event here.
Juneteenth Jubilee at Hillside School Grounds
Saturday, June 17th | 12PM – 6PM
This family-friendly event will start with libations and a grounds blessing at the Howe House and march all the way towards Hillside School Grounds. There will be music, pony rides, and more. Learn more here.
Montclair’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration | 54 Orange Road, Montclair
June 17th | 12PM – 6PM
The annual Juneteenth celebration is back and will feature over 50 vendors, food trucks, a live DJ, a bouncy house, performers, and more at 54 Orange Road in Montclair. Click here to learn more.
The Reserve Exhibition: A Juneteenth Celebration at Source of Knowledge Book Store
June 17th | 7PM – 10PM
Visitors can come to view The Reserve Exhibition, which celebrates art, music, and community. You can register for the event here.
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom | 523 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood
June 18th | 1PM – 5PM
The Durand-Hedden House + Garden Association and the South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race will once again co-host Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom at Durand-Hedden House + Garden. This will be an afternoon of fun and learning, including historical reenactors, musicians, children’s activities, food, and the exhibit, Slavery in New Jersey: A Troubled History will be available for viewing. Registration is required, and you can register here.
Juneteenth Around the Square | 49 Washington Street, Newark
June 19th | 12PM – 4PM
This event will be held at Harriet Tubman Square. It will feature artmaking, drummers, yard games, performances, and more. The Newark Museum of. Art will be open to visitors so. they can explore their Seeing America: 18th and 19th Century galleries. Learn more about the event here.
Guided House Tour: Eyewitness to Black History at Montclair History Center | 110 Orange Road, Montclair
June 18th | 12PM – 3PM
Explore 200 years of Black history in Montclair and New Jersey at Crane House + Historic YMCA at 110 Orange Road in Montclair. Learn more here.
Juneteenth at The Montclair Pre-K
June 19th | 11AM – 2PM
Families and friends are welcome to celebrate the sense of community and freedom. Story hour, live performances, crafting, and other activities will be available to take part in. Learn more here.
PSEG True Diversity Film Series Presents Slavery’s Impact on the Black Experience in NJ with NJPAC | Online
June 19th | 6PM
This panel will be held virtually and requires registration. It will discuss the legacy of slavery right here in New Jersey and how it stopped African-Americans from having property ownership and access to other resources. Learn more here.
Juneteenth Discussion with Rachel Swarns and Michelle Alexander Hosted by Watchung Booksellers | 54 Fairfield Street, Montclair
June 19th | 7PM – 8PM
Join authors Rachel Swarns and Michelle Alexander in honor of Juneteenth where they will have a discussion of The 272: The Families Who Were Enslaved and Sold to Build the American Catholic Church. Learn more here.