Where to Celebrate Juneteenth

Commemorate the holiday with history exhibits, live music and a peace rally.
City Of Alexandria

A bronze work by artist Erik Blome pays tribute to the Edmonton sisters, who attempted escape and were held in bondage at the Bruin “Negro Jail” in Alexandria until their father purchased their freedom with help from abolitionist Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe. (Photo by Evan Michio for the City of Alexandria)

Celebrate Juneteenth—the annual holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S.—through a variety of local events, including concerts and guided tours. Here are some of the highlights happening in and around Arlington.

From the People, For the People 

June 14, 7 p.m.

Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse screens this new documentary on the destruction of Greenwood, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, neighborhood known as “Black Wall Street” that was ravaged by white rioters in 1921. Meet the film’s producer, Karen Reese, at the event, presented by the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington. // Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Free. 21+ unless accompanied by a parent.

Free at Last! Juneteenth Dinner Party

June 14, 6-9 p.m.

Head to the Pentagon City location of Matchbox, a Black-owned business, for a dinner party intended to engender a sense of unity among local professionals. Guests are encouraged to take part in discussions during the meal, as well as wear clothing celebrating Black heritage. // Matchbox, 1100 S. Hayes St., Suite H20, Arlington

Juneteenth Peace Rally

June 15, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Gather at Jennie Dean Park for a peace rally presented by Arlington County’s Black Employees Council. The event is part of the Columbia Pike Blues Festival and features guest speakers as well as a post-rally cookout that includes music, dance, games, food and drinks. // Jennie Dean Park, 3630 27th St. S., Arlington. Free.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum 1 Credit Alexadria Archaeology Museum0

The Alexandria Archaeology Museum revisits history through an interactive activity and new exhibit. (Photo by Misha Enriquez for Visit Alexandria)

Juneteenth at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum

June 16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Alexandria Archaeology Museum recently unveiled a permanent exhibit that “centers the experiences of free and enslaved African Americans in Alexandria.” Stop by for an interactive activity exploring the 1800s-era Black neighborhood of Hayti. // Alexandria Archaeology Museum, Torpedo Factory, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. Free.

Arlington Historical Museum Juneteenth Celebration

June 16, 7-9 p.m.

The Arlington Historical Museum, in partnership with the Arlington branch of the NAACP and Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, presents this informative evening celebrating the legacies of local Black community members. // Arlington Historical Museum, 1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road, Arlington. Free.

Family Visitation Photos 2021

George Washington’s Mount Vernon is hosting a Family Day for Juneteenth, including commemoration ceremonies at a burial ground for those once enslaved there. (Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon)

Freedom Before Emancipation: Family Day for Juneteenth

June 17, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon to learn about the lives of individuals once enslaved there. The day of activities includes character performances, guided and self-guided tours, and commemoration ceremonies at a slave burial ground. // 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon. Tickets $26, $13 (age 6-11), free for children 5 and under.

Gum Springs Community Day and Parade

June 17, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Gum Springs—the oldest historically Black community in Fairfax County—celebrates its 190th birthday with the unveiling of a highway marker dedicated to founder West Ford, who was enslaved by members of George Washington’s family. The event also includes a parade and outdoor festival, featuring carnival rides, a health fair, food and music. // Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 8115 Fordson Road, Alexandria. Free.

Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration

June 17, 1-5 p.m.

The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce presents this celebratory community gathering that includes mini golf, volleyball, games and food. // Dulles Golf Center and Sports Park, 21593 Jesse Court, Sterling. Tickets $15+. Kids age 6 and under are free.

Juneteenth Walk 1

Discuss the history of several local sites on a Black heritage walking tour of Arlington. (Photo courtesy of Walk Arlington)

Juneteenth Black Heritage Walk

June 18, 1-3 p.m.

Walk with Black Heritage Museum of Arlington board member Craig Syphax along a route that includes St. John’s Baptist Church, Freedman’s Village Bridge and other locations with ties to Black history in Arlington. Following the tour, gather at the museum to explore the exhibits. // Towers Park, 801 S. Scott St., Arlington. Free.

Alexandria Black History Museum Credit Adedayo Dayo Kosoko For Visit Alexandria 6

Take advantage of extended hours at the Alexandria Black History Museum. (Photo by Adedayo “Dayo” Kosoko for Visit Alexandria)

Storytime at the Alexandria Black History Museum

June 19, 10 a.m.

The Alexandria Black History Museum (as well as the Freedom House Museum) will be extending its hours on Juneteenth, open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Come early at 10 a.m. for a special story time and craft project with Lillian Stanton Patterson, a “Living Legend of Alexandria.” // Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria. Free.

Juneteenth Park and Cemetery Cleanup

June 19, 9-11 a.m.

Roll up your sleeves and help tidy up the Douglass Memorial Cemetery and Penny Hill Cemetery at an event paying homage to “those who endured the many years of slavery while celebrating the freedom they fought for.” // Douglass Memorial Cemetery, 1421 Wilkes St., Alexandria. Free.

Washington Revels Jubilee Juneteenth Concert

June 19, 2-3 p.m.

Embark on a journey celebrating Black resistance and tenacity as told through the stories, song and dance of this a cappella ensemble. // Market Square, 301 King St., Alexandria. Free.


Categories: Community