Marcus Shelby leads a Zoom presentation of live music, readings and poetry delving into Juneteenth's history and its resonance today. (MoAD)
As the country enters a third week of constant protests over the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and reckons with its racist structures, this year's Juneteenth celebrations have seen increased interest.
An annual day observing the end of slavery in the south, Juneteenth falls each year on June 19. This Friday's celebrations get underway not only during a national uprising for racial justice, but during a global pandemic. Below, find ways to honor Juneteenth at home with streamed music and art, and view a select list of outdoor celebrations happening around the Bay Area.
Additional reporting by Dacia Mitchell.
Select Online Juneteenth Events on June 19
‘Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids’
Thirty Bay Area theater companies come together for this streamed performance of Vincent Terrell Durham’s play, Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, a timely meditation on police killings of Black people and the Black Lives Matter movement. The play is presented as part of the PlayGround Zoom Fest and the Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project, a national movement spanning theaters across America. Starts at 7pm Pacific time; details here.
Marcus Shelby: Juneteenth and the Blues
Carrying on the tradition of figures like Charles Mingus and Archie Shepp, who infused jazz with politics, composer and bassist Marcus Shelby has presented jazz programs on Harriet Tubman, the Negro Leagues, the school-to-prison pipeline and more. In an hour-long Zoom presentation of live music, readings and poetry, Shelby delves into Juneteenth's history and resonance today. Starts at 4pm Pacific time; details here.
'Take This Hammer'
Filmed by KQED in 1963, Take This Hammer follows James Baldwin around San Francisco as he speaks with young Black people and compasres the racial atmosphere in the so-called "progressive" city to the segregated south. The full director's cut is available to stream; details here.
NAACP Black Family Reunion
The NAACP hosts a two-hour special about lives lost and personal stories from the Black community. Participants can submit their story for potential inclusion in advance. Starts at 1pm Pacific time; details here.
Music From Other Minds: Juneteenth
The Other Minds radio show expands to two hours for a Juneteenth special with the music of Black American composers including Matana Roberts, Moor Mother, Ben LaMar Gay, LOAN (Tongo Eisen-Martin & Chris Peck) and more. Hosted by Liam Herb, the special starts at 10pm Pacific time; details here.
Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era
Elizabeth Pepin Silva and Lewis Watts, authors of the book Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era, discuss the neighborhood's robust history of Black culture, which urban renewal erased in the 1960s and 1970s. Starts at noon Pacific time; details here.