Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, delivering the news of the end of slavery—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued. Juneteenth serves as a reminder of the resilience, struggle, and triumph of African Americans and their contributions to the fabric of our nation. San Antonio is rich in Black Heritage, and we celebrate our cultural diversity with time-honored traditions.Join us as we explore the historical context of Juneteenth and highlight the various events and festivities that take place to honor this pivotal moment in American history.
Events to Attend
Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast
When: Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 9-11:00 am Where: Bethel AME Church | 225 N Swiss St | San Antonio, TX | 78202
Attend an informational prayer breakfast and also learn more about the history of San Antonio's earliest churches including St. Paul Methodist, St. James AME Church, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, and Mount Zion First Baptist Church. Musical coordinator Vanessa Allen will curate Negro spirituals, gospel music and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Great SA - Freedom: A Juneteenth Culinary Conversation
When: Wednesday, June 14, 2023 | 6-8:30 pm Where: Malú and Carlos Alvarez Theatre, Texas Public Radio | 321 W Commerce St | San Antonio, TX | 78205
Food is a universal love language, and in the Black community, this love runs deep. It comes from a desire to nourish others, spend time together, maintain traditions, and stay within our means. As descendants from Africa, a land of many countries and tribes, so many traditions were brought to this land through different ports and different means. One thing is similar, food is a way of building and protecting culture.
Sunday dinners, family reunions, weekday supper and holidays like Juneteenth provide the backdrop for the community to come together and celebrate the legacy that is embedded in our DNA. In partnership with The City of San Antonio World Heritage Office and the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum (SAAACAM), you won't want to miss Freedom: A Juneteenth Culinary Conversation, where the topic of discussion is the freedom to celebrate Black heritage through food. This event is free to attend and is a can't-miss event for the "foodies"!
The Black History Film Series at Magik Theatre
When: Thursday, June 15, 2023 | 6:30 pm Where: Magik Theatre | 420 S Alamo St. | San Antonio, TX | 78205
The fourth installment of San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum's (SAAACAM) Annual Black History Film Series, I Am Not Your Negro is a 2016 documentary film and social critique film essay directed by Raoul Peck, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history. The panel discussion followed by questions and answers will feature Dr. Charles Gentry and Dr. Joycelyn Moody. The event is free but registration is required.
Annual Juneteenth Festival
When: June 16-17, 2023 | 11am-11pm Where: Comanche Park #2 | 2600 Rigsby Ave | San Antonio, TX | 78222
The Annual Juneteenth Festival has grown to be a favorite event of locals and visitors alike. Start with the annual "Fish Fry" Friday benefitting local scholarship funds. Local musicians and DJs will have you dancing and shouting the night away. Friday night's headliner is the local group, The Legends. Saturday evening the festival closes with the R&B styling of Larry Braggs, former lead singer of the Tower of Power. Bring your whole family out for this free event!
Juneteenth Freedom Coalition Annual Parade
When: Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 10 am Where: Parade begins at Sam Houston High School | 4635 E Houston St | San Antonio, TX | 78220
San Antonio loves a good parade to celebrate occasions! Join us for the 24th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Parade to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African descendants in America. The parade educates visitors about this historical day and its significance to African Americans in particular. The parade highlights community schools and groups through artistic expression including music and dance.
San Antonio Juneteenth Block Party & Fair
Celebrate with the entire family at the San Antonio Juneteenth Block Party & Fair. Hosted by Dream Big Scholarship Fund Inc, a 501C(3), this event raises money for their scholarship program and brings awareness, educates, and provides resources to support small businesses, health, wellness, and education in the African American community. Stop by vendor booths, enjoy a kid's play area, dance to live music and DJs, and hear from speakers. It's a great opportunity to experience an array of activities that highlight the culture and heritage of the African diaspora. This one is free to attend, but registration is required!
The Art of Four Presents Juneteenth at ArtPace Rooftop Reception
When: Saturday, June 17, 2023 | 6-9 pm Where: Artpace | 445 N Maine | San Antonio, TX | 78205
This beautiful rooftop reception, developed by ArtPace, celebrates not only diversity in art but the importance of inclusion in the arts. This event takes place on the rooftop of ArtPace where you will enjoy breathtaking views of the city, mingling with a myriad of San Antonio creatives.
Guest Speaker: Mrs. Opal Lee, the Grandmother of Juneteenth
When: Sunday, June 18, 2023 | 11:00 am Where: True Vision Church | 2826 Ackerman Rd | Kirby, TX | 78219
Mrs. Opal Lee's story is one that cannot be condensed to a mere paragraph - she was instrumental in making Juneteenth a federal holiday, is an incredible activist, and among her many achievements, she helped found the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society. Mrs. Opal Lee will be at True Vision Church for a special speech.
The Art of Four Presents Juneteenth at Legacy Park
When: June 18, 2023 | 6:00 -10:00 p.m. Where: Legacy Park | 103 W Commerce St. | San Antonio, TX | 78205
The Art of Four is hosting its 3rd Annual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize and celebrate the rich history of Juneteenth. The Art of Four's Juneteenth events commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Texas and look to help heal current divisions amongst communities and move toward a future as a city and nation more united. This Juneteenth event is catered specially for enthusiasts of the arts! This year's lineup features a host of local talent as well as internationally known, visual, theatrical, and performing artists.
True Vision Church's Juneteenth 5K Run/Walk
When: Monday, June 19, 2023 | 9-11 am Where: True Vision Church | 2826 Ackerman Rd | Kirby, TX | 78219
Lace up your shoes and head out to the 5K Run/Walk to celebrate Juneteenth Federal Holiday and raise money for the True Vision Scholarship Fund. "While before we ran for our lives and freedom, now we are able to run for enjoyment."
Annual Juneteenth Golf Tournament
When: Monday, June 19, 2023 | 8 am-3 pm Where: The Club at Sonterra | 901 Sonterra Blvd | San Antonio, TX | 78258
The Juneteenth Annual Golf Tournament benefits the Miller Child Development Center and supports the Official Juneteenth Festival. Come play golf cour a great case at The Club At Sonterra, which features two 18-hole championship golf courses which offer unique settings and challenges: North and South Course(s).
Freedom: A Gospel Celebration of Juneteenth
When: Monday, June 19, 2023 | 5-8 pm Where: Tobin Center for the Performing Arts | 100 Auditorium Cir | San Antonio, TX | 78205
Bexar County and the Tobin Center culminate Juneteenth 2023 with a celebration of gospel music at Freedom: A Gospel Celebration of Juneteenth. The San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM) is proud to facilitate this event celebrating the emancipation of the enslaved here in Texas. SAAACAM is collaborating with the Gospel Haus and Museum to present the stories steeped in freedom and joy from San Antonio and Houston gospel music legends.
GUEST CHEF COLLABORATION
Chef Mona Wilson was selected to co-create with the Tobin Center's Executive Chef, Armando Lopez, for this Juneteenth finale program. And Chef Mona has graciously extended her opportunity to include her mentee, Junior Chef sensation, Chef VickyV!
True Vision Church's 2023 Juneteenth Celebration
When: Monday, June 19, 2023 | 7 pm Where: True Vision Church | 2826 Ackerman Rd | Kirby, TX | 78219
Close out the Juneteenth commemorations with an event complete with food trucks, live music, and a beautiful fireworks display. Free to all to attend!
Locations to Visit
The Carver Community Cultural Center
Location: 226 N. Hackberry St. San Antonio, TX 78202
The Carver Community Cultural Center is a hub for African American arts and culture in San Antonio. It provides community outreach activities, artistic presentations, and many educational programs throughout the year.
While in town, come out to the Carver Community Cultural Center and enjoy a show or two. The Center often features 10-12 main stage performances at the Jo Long Theatre and 4 intimate series events at the Little Carver Civic Center.
San Antonio African American Community Archive Museum
Location: 218 South Presa, Building 20 San Antonio, TX 78205
The San Antonio African American Community Archive Museum (SAAACAM) is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of African Americans in San Antonio. Exhibits at the museum include a digital archive of historical accounts and audiovisual exhibits meant to empower and engage.
The museum also offers intimate tours on the second Sunday and fourth Saturday of each month for 19 people per cruise. In addition, SAAACAM also offers private group tours.
Visit San Antonio’s Historic Eastside
"Spheres of Reflection" by Kaldric Dow
If you want a more immersive experience this Juneteenth, visit San Antonio’s historic Eastside. This area of the city is comprised of venues, landmarks, and eateries that truly reflect San Antonio’s rich black culture. Check out our recent blog on Exploring San Antonio's Eastside.
Here you will find Ellis Alley, one of the city’s first Black settlements. At the San Antonio St. Paul Square historic district, you can find a collection of restaurants and historical buildings to admire and explore.
While in the area, check out the city’s many different murals and sculptures through a mural ride, or explore them on foot. Many of these recognize our city's Black history and the Black experience.
Come to San Antonio and Celebrate Our Diverse Cultural Scene
Yanaguana Indian Arts Festival
San Antonio is a city that embraces cultural diversity and honors traditions from many different backgrounds. Experience the true culture of San Antonio and find events and celebrations found nowhere else.