Johnson County Juneteenth celebrations, a preview

A vast array of events will be held in the Johnson County area to celebrate Juneteenth and its second year as a federal holiday.


Kate Heston

Attendees at a Juneteenth celebration hosted by Iowa Freedom Riders get their food on June 19, 2021.

Sam Knupp, Managing Editor

Juneteenth is a national holiday commemorating the emancipation of Black slaves in the United States. Celebrations date back to 1866, one year after the emancipation of the slaves. Celebrations faded during the Jim Crow era but were later revived in the late 1960s. It was established as a federal holiday in 2021. Below are a few of the upcoming events in the Johnson County area to celebrate the holiday.

Thursday, June 16

When: 6:00 p.m.

What: Oracles Community Conversation, Blackness and Belonging in Iowa City

Where: Dream City, 611 Southgate Ave, Iowa City

About: The Center for Afrofuturist Studies’ Oracles is hosting a forum about the culture of public art in Iowa City and how well it serves the Black community.

Friday, June 17

When: 5:00 p.m.

What: Downtown at Sundown

Where: Chauncey Swan Park, 405 E Washington St, Iowa City

About: The celebration will have bouncy houses, basketball, games, and a variety of vendors. The event will also have a fashion show starting at 6:30 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., New Shining Star, an Earth, Wind, and Fire cover band, will play a set on the Pedestrian Mall’s Weatherdance Fountain Stage.

Saturday, June 18

When: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

What: Juneteenth in our Neighborhood (Iowa City)

Where: Mercer Park, 1317 Dover St

About: The event will feature a financial literacy and health fair, along with an appearance from the Iowa City Public Library Book Mobile. There will also be a blood drive and free food while supplies last in addition to children’s activities including a bounce house.

Saturday, June 18

When: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

What: Juneteenth in our Neighborhood (Coralville)

Where: S.T. Morrison Park, 1513 7th St, Coralville

About: The Coralville celebration will feature local performers including E-Knock, STRIKE Martial Arts, and DJ Mike. Food will be provided until supplies run out.

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