Celebrate Juneteenth the San Francisco Way
Among the many Black cultural festivals that occur annually in San Francisco is Juneteenth. The holiday, which is celebrated nationally on June 19, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, when two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union generals finally made it to Galveston, Texas to inform the city that enslaved people were set free.
Each year, San Francisco's Juneteenth celebrations honor the achievements and determination of the African-American community with a festival and parade along Fillmore Street, where the first San Francisco Juneteenth celebration was held in 1950.
The event usually draws some 75,000 people to the Fillmore District for the parade, a classic car show, a traditional African Uhuru village, and other activities. This year, however, due to COVID-19, smaller in-person events and virtual experiences are being planned.
2021 Juneteenth Events
A new work of public art will rise in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 18. "Monumental Reckoning" addresses America’s original sin of slavery while guiding us to a more honest, inclusive, and uplifting future. Hundreds of small statues, representing enslaved women, will encircle the park's longstanding memorial to Francis Scott Key, author of "The Star-Spangled Banner". It is an artistic juxtaposition that invites visitors to consider who freedom was really meant for at the founding of our nation.
Free Admission to the Oakland Museum of California
Nearby Oakland is steeped in 20th century Black history. In conjunction with Juneteenth, the Oakland Museum of California is reopening its doors after 15 months with a free visitor weekend. The museum will be open to all from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Friday, June 18 to Sunday, June 20. To learn about the new visitor experience and to reserve your free ticket, click here.
Juneteenth at the Bayview Opera House
The historic Bayview Opera House will hold its first outdoor event since last spring on Saturday, June 19 at 12:30 p.m. Enjoy performances including live drumming from Batuci, original dance from Feline Finesse, poetry and spoken word from Queen Niyah, uplifting music by XPress and GoodBrutha, and blues and jazz by Pat Wilder and her band. Purchase tickets here.
Lights Shine at City Hall
San Francisco's big, beautiful, Beaux-Arts City Hall will be lit in red, green, and black to celebrate Juneteenth on Saturday, June 19. Be sure to stop for a photo if you're exploring the Civic Center and Hayes Valley neighborhoods.
Meet San Francisco's African-American Creators
Looking to explore more of San Francisco's African-American culture from home? Get familiar with these artists, writers, and pioneers who are shaping the community today.
Born Ricardo Richey, APEXER is a street artist whose colorful creations are included among San Francisco's many murals. You can find his works in SoMa and the Financial District. APEXER has also created video and sculptural art, as well. Follow his work here.
Cheryl Patrice Derricotte
A visual artist who works primarily with glass and paper, Cheryl's work has been exhibited all over California. She is also the Chief Mindfulness Officer of Crux, a nationwide cooperative of black artists exploring immersive storytelling through virtual and augmented reality. Follow her work here.
Serge Gay, Jr.
At the age of 22, Serge Gay Jr. arrived in San Francisco to attend an art conference. Like many visitors, he was barely off the plane before he decided the city was home. Serge has established himself as one of the city's most important African-American painters and muralists. Follow his work here.
Honey Mahogany is perhaps best known for starring in the fifth season of “RuPaul's Drag Race." Since her breakthrough “Drag Race” appearance, she has starred in another platform altogether: San Francisco politics. She serves as a legislative aide to a member of the San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, where she advocates for all things LGBTQ. Follow Honey here.
Devorah holds the distinction of having been San Francisco's third poet laureate. She has written two novels and four books of poetry. She is also a recording artist and a professor. Learn more about Devorah here.
George McCalman is an artist and creative director. His studio, McCalman.Co, designs brands for a range of clientele. Additionally, he’s a visual columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, featured in "Observed" and "The Usual". Follow George's work here.
Ron Moultrie Saunders
A photographer who works without a camera, Ron Moultrie Saunders is a founder of the 3.9 Art Collective. Blending his landscape architecture with his advocacy for the community, Saunders believes cultural creators are the heartbeat of any urban center. Learn more about Ron here.
Hank Willis Thomas
Hank may be based in Brooklyn, but his light art in San Francisco is among the city's most recognized, photographed, and beloved pieces of public art. "Love Over Rules" has hung over the Yerba Buena neighborhood since 2017, attracting attention from first light. Follow Hank's work here.