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5 Things To Do This Weekend To Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth is this Saturday, a day that commemorates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved. (On June 15, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that’ll make Juneteenth a federal holiday.) For this week, I have compiled a list that highlights Black artists, vendors, scholars and events celebrating Black joy. June also happens to be Black music appreciation month so I will leave you with a new song by one of my favorite artists: “Motorbike” by Leon Bridges captures the feeling of a warm breezy, almost-summer day.

On Juneteenth: Annette Gordon-Reed in Conversation with Elizabeth Cobbs

Thursday, June 17

Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize winner and professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law, will be in conversation with award-winning historian Elizabeth Cobbs exploring the origins of Juneteenth and the legacies left behind. Gordon-Reed presents valuable and insightful perspectives on history dating back to the earliest presence of Black people in Texas in the 1500s. This conversation will highlight the legacies that slavery left and serve as a reminder that the fight for equality still isn’t over — topics discussed in her latest book “On Juneteenth.” [Listen to Annette Gordon-Reed’s appearance on Radio Boston here.]


Outdoor Screening: 'Miss Juneteenth'

Friday, June 18

The Loring Greenough House Lawn in Jamaica Plain will host an outdoor movie night screening “Miss Juneteenth.” The film is a soulful American drama about a single mother, once a beauty queen, who decides to enter her daughter into the Miss Juneteenth pageant. The movie was written and directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples and was also part of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. English subtitles will be provided on screen.


'The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae'

Saturday, June 19

At Black Market Nubian Square, there will be a premiere screening of “The Slave Narrative of Willie Mae,” adapted from Ifé Franklin’s book of the same name. Directed by Franklin, the film tells the story of a 20-year-old Black enslaved woman, Willie Mae, who sets on her journey to freedom in Virginia during the 1800s. (It was also shot locally at the Royall House and Slave Quarters in Medford by The Loop Lab.) Following the screening, there will be a Q&A. Attendance is limited at the indoor screening, but a livestream can be viewed virtually. If you’re looking for something to do before the screening begins, there will be a land acknowledgement, ancestor message board, book sale, author signing and more in the Blair Lot next door.


Juneteenth at Bow Market

Saturday, June 19

Bow Market will be showcasing Black art and culture through the entirety of the day. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Black Owned Bos. Retail Bazaar will be set up, featuring Black owned shops. As I mentioned above, June is Black Music Month and hip-hop artist Brandi Blaze will be coordinating music and performances throughout the day. Record shop Vinyl Index will offer vinyl and book bundles for sale. Two of the spotlight authors of the day include Hanif Abdurraqib, author of “Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest,”and Stephanie Phillips, who wrote “Why Solange Matters.” Wild Child — a book shop and community-building space in Bow Market — will present “Steam Power Hour: Black Poetics After Dark,” which will end the evening with a rotation of readings from Black writers.


Dorchester Art Project Paint Party

Saturday, June 19

As a way of celebrating freedom, Dorchester Art Project will be hosting a paint party. There will be guidance from beginning to end for you to create your own canvas paintings as a form of celebration. The purchase of a ticket includes an 11-by-14-inch canvas, brushes of different sizes, acrylic paint, a paint palette and a pencil. All you need to bring is a smile and your own unique creativity and at the end you’ll have a piece of art to bring home with you.

Magdiela Matta Twitter Arts Fellow
Magdiela Matta was the arts and culture reporting fellow for WBUR in 2021.

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