Raise a glass to freedom (Photo: Amurica Photobooth)

Juneteenth in Memphis: Celebrations of Liberation

This city doesn’t do holidays half-a**. We light up the sky for 4th of July,  don’ our greens for St. Patrick’s Day—and mark Juneteenth in Memphis with moments that our ancestors could only dream of.

This is a commemoration honoring the liberation of the people that have largely contributed to the creation of culture across our city. This is Juneteenth in Memphis.

On June 19, 1865 in Galveston, TX, Major General Gordon Granger demanded the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

It should also be mentioned that General Order Number 3 was issued TWO WHOLE YEARS after the Emancipation Proclamation had been put into place, and Juneteenth in 

Even though many masters weren’t quick to abide by their new laws—for the first time in history, the Black community had a date that was theirs.


Local students need masterful Memphians to take them from pupils to empowered professionals.

Despite the fears, frustrations, and further discrimination that would be felt, the last of our ancestors were given their golden ticket to freedom on Juneteeenth—and if that doesn't call for a celebration, we don't know what would.

Long before it was declared a federal holiday in 2021, local organizations commemorated the occasion with special gatherings and celebrations; providing spaces to boast all facets of Blackness, in light of where Black America has been and where it’s going. 

The same will ring true in 2023.

How will you celebrate Juneteenth in Memphis?

The Memphis Juneteenth Festival kicks off June 5th with events taking place all throughout the month!

With a lineup of events featuring a Greek Stroll Off, a 2.5 Walk/Run, a Musical Stage Play, a Community Baby Shower, and more—thanks to Telisa FranklinMemphis Juneteenth is filling the whole month of June with many moments to pull in honor of those that fought for our freedom.   

Writeous Soul invites you to kick off the liberation celebrations early as Memphians of all ages use the power of spoken word to deliver personal passages along the downtown Memphis riverfront. 

The Alumni Association of LeMoyne Owen College has curated a family-friendly event rejoicing Black resistance. There will be music, singing, dancing, a living memorial and a live re-enactment of the first Juneteenth event that took place in Galveston TX.

Playback Memphis invites BIPOC Memphians to witness a performance made with only them in mind as an all-black cast combines words, movement, and music to unlock healing, transformation, and joy in Memphis—one story at a time.  

Featuring the Sensational Barnes Brothers, Prizm Ensemble has put together a FREE concert composed of choral, chamber, and orchestral music as they honor the work of Black composers and commemorate  the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

"This really big really Black family gathered together in their finest digs to celebrate the giants that came before us. Our ancestors were present for this celebration. We laughed, cried, danced, and celebrated. ”
Victoria Jones
Tone Executive Director

With a movie screening, a music festival, a B.A.P.S themed gala, and more planned, prepare to two-step and let your chain hang low. Tone invites you to tap into a weekend full of festivities that pay homage to the past and fame the future for Black culture.

Check out the 2021 festival recap to get hype for what’s to come

There’s no better day to commit to doing what Cxffeeblack does all year long; recognize, reclaim, and redeem black roots—and reimagine black futures! Head over to Antigentrification Cxffee Club where they’ll be observing the day with dj sets, vendors, games, giveaways and a special meal collaboration.

The Black Clergy Collaborative invites you to shop local as Black farmers and artisans of all kinds come together to sell their wares. 

What better way to commemorate cultural identity than with a block party! The 4th Annual Juneteenth Shop Black Festival on Saturday, June 17th, will feature live entertainment, food trucks, local vendors—and it’s all going down rain or shine (May your protective styles stay strong 🤲)

2023 marks 30 years of the Juneteenth Jubilee and Freedom Festival held in Douglass Park, Memphis’ first park for African Americans, nestled in the North Memphis neighborhood. 

Recognized as the official Black Pride for Memphis by the Center for Black Equity, TriState Black Pride is closing out their Pride Month festivities with a Juneteenth Music Festival at the Overton Park Shell. 

Tune in to the rest of their pride month programming.

Did We Miss Something?

Can't pull up to the function?

There are many ways you can support the local black community on Juneteenth, and beyond.

The Memphis Juneteenth Festival kicks off June 5th with events taking place all throughout the month!

Memphis Athletic Ministries has teamed up with the Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Grizzlies Youth to bring young ballers together for the Juneteenth Jr. NBA Grizzlies 3v3 Tournament!

Perks include

  • Jr NBA Grizzlies jerseys for each player
  • Prizes for 1st and 2nd place teams
  • Appearances by NBA/WNBA legends
  • Grizzlies entertainment team performances
Treat yourself to a liberation cookie or two at Butterific Bakery & Cafe!

This Black-owned bakery is throwing down in the kitchen, whipping up all kinds of treats that would have the ancestors coming back for more. 

Feeding the Root is accepting vendors applications for the 2nd Annual Juneteenth GROW Market.

We could all use more moments to tend to our minds, bodies, and spirits—and there’s no day like Juneteenth to do so. 

The Feeding the Root GROWS Market will not only be a space for folks to secure locally-grown fruits and veggies, but the outdoor yoga sessions offer opportunities for participants to find and protect their peace. 

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