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By Scott Roberto / June 15, 12:00 AM
Celebrating Juneteenth
Photo: Caitlin Cunningham Photography/courtesy of the MFA


Juneteenth—the holiday commemorating the date June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved Americans in Texas finally received the official news of 1863’s Emancipation Proclamation—is a new federal holiday this year, yet has been celebrated in Black communities for decades. Likewise, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is no stranger to celebrating the occasion. On June 20, the MFA hosts an open house for all Massachusetts citizens that features art-making activities on the Huntington Avenue lawn (pictured) from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Amateur painters can craft portrait creations, with images from this session slated to appear as part of the crowd-sourced Portraits of Leadership show, a companion to September’s upcoming The Obama Portraits Tour stop in the Hub. Other activities include lectures throughout the day highlighting the current display Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas, a performance by Danny Rivera of his multi-media performance piece The Most Estranged Fruits, and a conversation with Rivera and fellow artist Stephen Hamilton, whose work is represented in Touching Roots and New Light: Encounters and Connections, an installation from the MFA’s permanent collection on view through August 22. 

Other ways to mark the holiday include several free events happening in Roxbury over the weekend, beginning with the Embrace Ideas Block Party in Nubian Square on June 17 from 3–8 p.m. Sponsored by King Boston, an organization dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Hub, the shindig features some of the city's best DJs who get things moving for a night of dancing, music, community and nourishment from the best local food trucks. On June 18, Slade's Bar & Grill hosts The Emancipator's A Juneteenth Celebration from 5–7 p.m., which boasts live performances and interactive art demonstrations, while revelers can experience the Juneteenth 2022 at Franklin Park extravaganza from 11 a.m.–7 p.m., a picnic-style affair for the whole family. 

465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA
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