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Celebrate Juneteenth in Durham

Estimated Read Time:
5min

Join us for Juneteenth in Durham this year with these 5 ways to celebrate, educate and commemorate on this very important holiday.

Nine hundred – that’s the number of days between Jan 1, 1863, when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, declaring all enslaved Black people free, and June 19, 1865, when 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas finally heard the news.

It was a moment that generations of enslaved Black people had only dreamed and whispered about in secret. Naturally, they reacted to the delayed news with weeping, singing, praying and dancing – all the things that accompany liberation. It was the first June 19 celebration.

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and 19, is an annual day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. While it has been celebrated by many African Americans since the late 1800s, it’s a day for all Americans to learn, reflect and grow from this nation’s history. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed a bill to set aside June 19 as a federal holiday. This year, we encourage you to celebrate Juneteenth in Durham by attending events, learning more about the day, reflecting and supporting Black-owned businesses.

Bragtown & Merrick Moore Juneteenth Celebration

Date: Saturday, June 15, 2024, 2-6 p.m.
Location: Lakeview Park, 3500 Dearborn Dr.

The Bragtown Community Association presents the fourth-annual Juneteenth, an afternoon of healing, inspiration and celebration featuring DJ Pitty Pat, food trucks, a kids' fun zone, community resources, spoken word and a gospel fest.

Black Vegan Street Market & Juneteenth Celebration

Date: Sunday, June 16, 2024, 3-8 p.m.
Location: Durham Central Park, 501 Foster St.

Shop Black and eat more plants at this environmentally friendly market filled iwth plant-based food and Black-owned local businesses, plus a fashion show, local artists, performances and more.

West End/Lyon Park Juneteenth Celebration

Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Carroll Street Park, 815 Carroll St.

The West End neighborhood's Juneteenth Event kicks off at Carroll Street Park, and celebrations include vendors, giveaways, live entertainment and gospel singing with fun activities for all ages.

1. Attend a local Juneteenth Event.

An important part of the celebration is about community and bringing people together, and Durham organizations are proud to bring residents and visitors a full week of programming and celebration. Gather friends and family and see what events are happening in and around your city. Celebrations that have been announced for 2024 include:

2024 North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration

Date: Saturday, June 15, 2024, 1-8 p.m.
Location: North Carolina Central University, Latham Parking Lot

Mark your calendars for North Carolina's Juneteenth Celebration in Durham: a day of festivities including national recording artists, local performers, food and merch, a health fair, a kids’ zone, a fashion show and more – hosted by Spectacular Magazine. The celebration kicks off at NCCU on Saturday with a drum and dance processional, followed by presentations on the origin and significance of Juneteenth.

Organizations will have Exhibitor Booths to inform the men, women, youth and families of services (mentoring, tutoring, mental health, substance abuse, job services, etc.) and activities (summer camp, day camp, after-school, athletic teams, etc.) available in the surrounding areas. Experts in their respective fields provide information, activities and demonstrations.

2. Support a Black-owned Business.

In Durham, we support Black-owned businesses all year long. As we celebrate Juneteenth, there's no better time to highlight some of our incredible Black-owned restaurants, businesses and startups.

The Hayti Heritage Center on Fayetteville St. has a mission to preserve and advance the heritage and culture of historic Hayti & the African American experience. Along Fayetteville St., there are numerous Black-owned businesses. Visit restaurants like Nzinga's Kitchen, Chicken Hut and Let's Eat Soul Food. Stop by World of Flowers for a wide selection of beautiful plants for your home.

Party in the Park: Juneteenth Edition

Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 12-2 p.m.
Location: Hub RTP Experience Center, 300 Park Offices Dr.

Celebrate Juneteenth in the Research Triangle Park, RTP, with lawn games, food trucks, live entertainment and giveaways.

Juneteenth Jamboree

Date: Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024, 7 p.m.
Location: Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St.

Duke Gardens will hold a special edition of their Music in the Garden weekly event with Juneteenth Jamboree. Sit on the lawn behind Doris Duke Center and enjoy performances from Kyshona, Grace Givertz and Samantha Rise. While food and beverages will be available for purchase on-site, feel free to bring your own picnic as well.

Juneteenth at the Nasher Museum

Date: Thursday, June 20, 6-8 p.m.
Location: 2001 Campus Dr.

Continue your Juneteenth celebrations with spoken word artists, a poetry writing workshop, interactive art experiences, a cash bar and more.

Live! Artist Business Expo Presents Shambo Medina's Black Talk Radio

Date: Friday, June 21, 2024, 3-9 p.m.
Location: Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville St.

Get connected, enjoy art and build community at this Live! From the Fayetteville Street Corridor's Art & Business Walk, featuring an album release, panel discussions, receptions and more.

North Durham Farmers' Market

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2024, noon-4 p.m.
Location: Soul Sanctuary, 1016 Old Oxford Rd.

For this Juneteenth Celebration at Soul Sanctuary, the North Durham Farmers' Market brings together a community of makers, artists, growers and suppliers of high-quality, locally sourced goods with a focus on centering BIPOC, LGBTQIA and women-led businesses.

Juneteenth at Stagville

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2024, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Location: Historic Stagville, 5828 Old Oxford Rd.

Commemorate Juneteenth by visiting the site where hundreds of enslaved people were emancipated in 1865. The site is now a state historic site dedicated to sharing the stories of the enslaved people who lived and labored there. This Juneteenth weekend, learn from talks, guided tours, a pop-up about freedom seekers and prompts for reflection at Horton Grove Nature Preserve.

A calendar of Juneteenth 2024 events in Durham, NC

Juneteenth in the Neighborhood Week.

3. Learn about Juneteenth as a Family.

For those wanting to celebrate Juneteenth for the first time, it's important that we learn how to celebrate in a way that truly honors its history.

Pick up some books that have been written specifically about Juneteenth or some books by Black authors about Black experiences. Rofhiwa Book Café, a local café that focuses on Black culture and literature, has a wide selection of educational books. With physical pop-ups in The Durham Hotel and Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Liberation Station Bookstore believes in making representation accessible and amplifying Black voices. If you can’t get your hands on these books before June 19, tune in to some read-a-longs or watch some videos online.

Ricky Moore's Second-Annual "Durmnik" – A Durham Picnic

Celebrate Juneteenth with Salt Box Seafood Joint's Ricky Moore as he joins forces with other Durham businesses to host the second annual "Durmnik," a picnic in Durham. Order a Durmnik box ahead of time and then head over to Saltbox on Juneteenth to pick it up. You can enjoy it at their picnic tables or take it somewhere else. The box will feature a collection of cookout-style dishes from Chez Moi, The Root Cellar Cafe, Boricua Soul and more. They're only selling a limited number of boxes, so make sure you order yours in advance.

4. Take some time to reflect.

While Juneteenth is certainly a cause for celebration, it should also lead to a time of reflection. Find a peaceful spot at The Eno River or check out the Durham Parks & Recreation website for a comprehensive list of local parks, and then take some time to pause and reflect on what we can do individually and collectively to dismantle systemic racism in America.

Visit Black Wall Street

Black Wall Street, an area that became a moniker for Durham's West Parrish Street, was a hub for Black-owned businesses during the early 1900s. Today, Durhamites of color are reclaiming history with present-day business ventures. Nicole Oxendine is reviving the Black entrepreneurial spirit of Black Wall Street through movement and dance at Empower Dance Studio, which began on Parrish Street and has now found a home in a space across CCB Plaza. Ella West Gallery celebrates local and underrepresented artists in a space that once housed the Reformer Publishing Company, which printed the Durham Reformer, a 1920s-era Black newspaper. Steps away, Kompleks Creative, a self-proclaimed 'dope' creative agency has proudly bolstered the brands of local partners. Across CCB plaza, Zen Succulent has sprung to life with beautiful plants and flowers. Dorian Bolden opened Beyu Caffè, a place rooted in a love for coffee, community and bringing people together. These are just a few of the local Black-owned businesses you can support.

5. Visit historic sites to learn more about Black History.

The civil rights movement gained significant traction in Durham. Walk Black Wall Street. Explore the Hayti Heritage Center. See the historic Woolworth lunch counter where sit-ins occurred. Become acquainted with tributes to integration and progress at the Carolina Theatre and sites like the Durham Civil Rights mural throughout the community.

Almost a thousand people were freed at Stagville, here in Durham, at the end of the Civil War. On Juneteenth, Historic Stagville invites visitors to remember emancipation and explore history on one of North Carolina's largest plantations with outdoor guided tours and more. Admission and tours are free for all, but make sure you reserve your free ticket online.

Last but not least, pick up our African American Heritage Guide at the Visitor Info Center to find out where you can see, feel, learn and embrace the past.

Watch a show, movie, or documentary about Black history or the experience of Black people in America. In the Netflix docuseries High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America, food writer Stephen Satterfield traces the origins of African American cuisine from Africa to Texas. Gabrielle Eitienne from Tall Grass Food Box, a CSA that supports and encourages the sustainability of Black Farmers serving people in Durham, appears in the series.