Activities and Opportunities to Gather for Juneteenth
By Jennifer Poindexter, Explore St. Louis
Juneteenth is a celebration of Black joy, culture, history, and resistance. All around the St. Louis region, we can find opportunities to learn more about Juneteenth and to celebrate the resilience that we have as Black people.
Missouri Historical Society
The Missouri Historical Society has developed a variety of programs to honor Juneteenth. Of particular interest is a keynote lecture from Bill Doggett, the late Reverend Dr. John N. Doggett Jr.’s son. He will tell the story of his father’s civic journey from Los Angeles to St. Louis. Rev. Doggett’s work began in the 1950s and he eventually ended up in St. Louis in the 1960s, becoming president of the St. Louis City NAACP and a board member of the Missouri Historical Society among many other significant St. Louis roles. The program starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thu., June 16, and is part of the Thursday Nights at the Museum series. This event will begin and end with a performance by the heavenly sounds of the Community Gospel Choir of St. Louis, which is directed by Suzanne Palmer.
Aimed at a younger audience, the History Museum’s storytelling program will focus on freedom celebrations past and present. Kids will learn about the holiday by reading books and hearing about St. Louis’ history. This program is from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Fri., June 17, and does not require a ticket or reservation.
Juneteenth Celebration on Delmar
The bustling Delmar Loop is celebrating Juneteenth on Sat., June 11, with an impressive amount of adult and kid-friendly activities. The celebration begins with an open drum call by Baba Kunma and will be hosted by DJ KP. Food from local restaurants such as AAA fish house, Krab Kingz and Vails Brothers will be available along with performances by African Mascarade-Mask to Stilts, African Dance by Spirit Angel of African Dance and the Red Black & Brass Band. Beyond learning from the onsite vendors, there will be opportunities to participate in a mural painting, kid’s face painting and a 360-photo booth for memorable photos with friends and family.
Juneteenth is a way to celebrate Black history and heritage with family and community. There are several Black-owned restaurants where you can gather together and honor Black contributions to the local culinary scene. Consider brunch at the history museum, which is catered by Pure Catering, dinner at Prime 55, or grab a sweet bite at Sweet Art. There are also a number of Black-owned concepts at the new City Foundry STL, including Chez Ali, Patty’s Cheesecake and 4Hens Creole Kitchen.
There are many options when choosing what you want to do around Juneteenth, and you can make a full weekend of it by booking one of St. Louis’ many hotels. Make it a staycation and check off as many activities as possible.
As I am making my Juneteenth plans, I find it extremely important to gather around my loved ones and honor our heritage. For us, that is what this celebration is all about.
May our ancestors be proud.
To view a list of Juneteenth activities, visit explorestlouis.com.