This year, the City of Iowa City is recognizing Juneteenth as an official holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the historic date of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to officially inform the people of Texas that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed by Presidential Order of Abraham Lincoln. Union Major General Gordon Granger read aloud the order freeing the one quarter of a million slaves who were still residing in the state, and the last to hear the news. This is an important date to note, as it was two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared by President Lincoln, in which “all persons held as slaves’ within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free,” according to the National Archives.
The City of Iowa City is partnering with local organizations to support many educational and cultural events throughout July.
- African American Museum of Iowa is hosting both virtual and in-person Juneteenth events
- Block Party: 5-8 p.m. June 17, 2021, at Chauncey Swan Park. More info here.
- Miss Juneteenth at FilmScene, Thursday, June 17 at Chauncey Swan Park. More information available here.
- Cedar Rapids Opera presents a Juneteenth Concert on Friday, June 18 at 7 p.m.; Registration and information available on their web page.
Riverside Festival Stage, Lower City Park on Park Road, Iowa City. African American spirituals, art songs and opera performed by Whitney Morrison, soprano; Sidney Outlaw, baritone; and Pedro Yanez, pianist. Presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award in Opera to Simon Estes, bass-baritone. FREE. Pre-registration required at Eventbrite.com.
Blood Drive: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. June 19, 2021, at the Johnson County Administration Building's parking lot. More info here.
Juneteenth meal drive-thru: 11 a.m. June 19, 2021, at Riverfront Crossings Park. More info here.
The Food of Juneteenth for Teens: 1-2:30 p.m. in the Ped Mall. Learn how to make food and learn about how farming and food are integral to Juneteenth thanks to the Iowa City Public Library's event!
This page will continue to be updated as we are aware of more area events.