Today, June 20, is the official observation of the federal holiday. So, there is still time to celebrate Juneteenth this weekend.

It’s been a year since President Joseph Biden signed into law the federal holiday commemorating the date in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told by newly arrived federal troops that they were free, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Whether you’ve celebrated Juneteenth your whole life or if this year is the first time, here are some suggestions for today and how to celebrate Black freedom:

See the Juneteenth Frederick Douglass exhibit at Northwestern’s Deering Library: Freedom for Everyone: Slavery and Abolition in 19th Century America is a new exhibition at the Charles Deering Library at Northwestern University’s lakefront campus. The exhibit showcases rarely seen papers and letters about Frederick Douglass’ enslavement and later freedom, along with other documents about the experience of 19th century Black America. A version of the exhibit is available online, but the exhibit was purposefully curated for a Juneteenth showing.

Watch The Big Payback, a film about local reparations: The documentary, which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, is directed by Erika Alexander and Whitney Dow and follows the journey of former City Council member Robin Rue Simmons and other city officials as they attempt to get the local reparations program up and running. It’s available to screen from home on the Tribeca Film Festival website for $20. 

Check out the Library: From 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 22, Evanston Public Library is hosting a Juneteenth Sip & Paint at Temperance Beer Co., 2000 Dempster St. Participants can look forward to making art, having great conversations and drinking beer with the community. All art materials will be provided. Register here.

Debbie-Marie Brown

Debbie-Marie Brown is a reporter and Racial Justice Fellow at the Evanston RoundTable. They cover the local reparations initiative, Black life in Evanston, and the 5th ward. Contact Debbie-Marie at

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