Juneteenth Celebrations Set for Parks, Forest Preserves

"Demand Justice" sculpture in Grant Park. Artist Maxwell Emcays will talk about his inspiration and Juneteenth, June 19, 2021. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)"Demand Justice" sculpture in Grant Park. Artist Maxwell Emcays will talk about his inspiration and Juneteenth, June 19, 2021. (Courtesy of Chicago Park District)

The Chicago area’s green spaces will serve as the backdrop for a number of Juneteenth celebrations this weekend.

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The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, inside Washington Park, is holding a grand reopening event for the public, kicking off at 11 a.m. Saturday. In addition to music and dance performances, admission to the museum will be free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free Juneteenth block party will continue after hours on the museum’s patio from 3-9 p.m.


Among Chicago Park District events:

— Artist Maxwell Emcays will be on hand Saturday for conversations about his sculpture, “Demand Justice,” on display through June 26 at Queen’s Landing, 500 S. Lake Shore Drive, east of Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. “Demand Justice” consists of laser-cut figures of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Emcays will talk about his inspiration for the piece, as well as Juneteenth. Discussions will start at the top of the hour from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

— Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave., is hosting a free three-day Juneteenth event, including a youth rally and performances from 1-8 p.m. Friday; a community festival from 1-8 p.m. Saturday; and a Father’s Day celebration featuring gospel music from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Ave., will host a flag-raising ceremony and salute to soldiers from 2:30-5:30 p.m. Friday; and a cultural showcase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Festive activities will take place throughout the weekend from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Cook County events will be centered at Sand Ridge Nature Center and Camp Shabbona Woods in South Holland, with an opening ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. Programs, some of which require advance registration, run through 5:30 p.m., and will include self-guided walks, art-making and storytelling.

“We hope that attendees take away a new or enhanced appreciation of this era in our history, a history that was punctuated by fortitude, resilience, bravery and a commonality of spirit,” said Sand Ridge Nature Center Director Stephen DeFalco.

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]


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