On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, alerting enslaved African Americans that they were free. Since then, Black people in the South have celebrated June 19 and the freedom it represents. In recent years, the celebration of Juneteenth has grown in popularity and has extended into other parts of the country. In the summer of 2020, in the midst of increased calls for police reforms after the death of George Floyd, President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday.

Baltimore native Diamon Fisher has organized Juneteenth celebrations here in the city for the past five years. This year, she has organized an already-sold out event at artist-run East Baltimore venue The Compound.

Flyer for Juneteenth Event

“Juneteenth is important to me because of its history… and all that it meant to our ancestors and spirit guides,” she says. “The ancestors were manifesting us into existence when they dreamt of and finally were ‘granted’ freedom. Freedom deserves to be celebrated, commemorated, and experienced.”

She has painstakingly and intentionally curated a space that encourages leisure, rest, and opulence, called “An Opulent Juneteenth.”

Flyer for Juneteenth Event

“This year, I made sure that I had vendors that are extensions of or promote rest. I’ll have a tea bar, a massage table, and an herbal wellness table, just as a few examples. The entire space will be covered in florals and plants,” she said. “Smells of sandalwood and nag champa permeating. I’m truly trying to activate all five senses and emphasize luxury in all sectors.”

If you’re looking to support Fisher’s event, she says the best way is by sharing the posts online and by donating. Although Fisher’s Juneteenth celebration is currently sold out, please RSVP to be added to the waitlist.

An Opulent Juneteenth: Monday, June 19  

An Opulent Juneteenth curated by Diamon Fisher will feature food, drinks, a tattoo bar, vendors, as well as guest performance by Pinksiifu, DJ Sets By ThugPop & Dj Auntie Spice, and a panel discussion moderated by Sharayna Christmas featuring Hood Century Modern, House of Aama, Marz Lovejoy, and Dr. Kaba Kamene. 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Compound.  

Flyer for Juneteenth Event

Other Ways To Celebrate Juneteenth: 

Thursday, June 15

Juneteenth: Honoring Food, Traditions, and Histories: Local chefs and restaurateurs David and Tonya Thomas discuss the culinary history of African American cuisine and food traditions associated with Juneteenth. Registration required. 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street. For more information, go to: thewalters.org or call: 410-547-9000.

Juneteenth Celebration:  Music, food giveaways, health and wellness activities, job fair, and more. 6:30 p.m. at Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, 1715 Thames Street. For more information, email: info@bgwellness.org. 

Friday, June 16

D7/D8 Free Juneteenth Youth STEAM Fair:  STEAM activities, music, games, prizes, food, youth resources, photo booth, and more. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cahill Recreational Center, 4001 Clifton Avenue. For more information, email: kimberly.sauer@baltimorecity.gov.

Juneteenth SoulStock Celebration: Food, music, performances, fitness, produce stand, vendors, demos, and community. 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Herring Run Park Hall Spring Area. For more information, go to: backyardbasecamp.org.

Saturday, June 17

AFRAM Juneteenth 2023 Festival: One of the largest African American festivals on the East Coast. National entertainment, local eats, and much more. June 17-18 at Druid Hill Park, 900 Druid Park Lake Drive. For more information, go to: aframbaltimore.com.

Jazz On the Rails Juneteenth Celebration: A celebration of the past, present, and future contributions of frontline railroad employees to the railroad industry featuring live contemporary jazz performances.($50-$75) 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the B&O Railroad Museum, 901 West Pratt Street. For more information, go to: borail.org or call: 410-752-2490.

The 3rd Annual Historic East Towson Juneteenth Concert: A musical celebration of the history of one of Maryland’s oldest African American communities. This year, The Style Band is headlining the show. ($35) 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 411 East Pennsylvania Avenue, Towson. For more information, go to: historiceasttowson.org.

Sunday, June 18 

Baltimore Pride Community BBQ:  A celebration of  Pride, Father’s Day, and Juneteenth. 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at The Pride Center of Maryland, 2418 Saint Paul Street. For more information, go to: bdeebaltimorelove.org or call: 410-622-9519.

Black Celebration!: An alternative way to celebrate with Black Celebration! A monthly DJ night of Goth-Rock, Post-Punk, Industrial, & New Wave by POC for everyone to enjoy! 9 p.m. at Ottobar, 2549 North Howard Street. For more information, go to: theottobar.com or call: 410-662-0069.

Art with Arijanaye Juneteenth Paint Party: Paint a masterpiece commemorating Juneteenth.  You can choose to paint either a 100% cotton t-shirt or a 14 x 14 gallery wrapped canvas (ready to hang on your wall once you create your masterpiece). Reserve your seat today on our website! No tickets sold at the door. All ages. ($30)1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 5636 Belair Road. For more information, call: 443-838-9997.

Monday, June 19th

Juneteenth Celebration: Envisioning A New Future: Visitors can learn about the origins of Juneteenth while enjoying a musical performance by the Benny Russell Big Band, and actor Keith Snipes. Commemorate the holiday by creating a time capsule and sharing your memories in our Time Capsule Video Booth. Also refreshments, exhibition tours, and more. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, 830 East Pratt Street. For more information, go to: lewismuseum.org or call: 443-263-1800. 

Juneteenth Celebration: A night of food and culture to celebrate Juneteenth. ($25) 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sandlot, 1299 Dock Street. For more information, email: BWIHP_SM@hilton.com. 

Salute the Sample: A Juneteenth Happy Hour presented by Baltimore Loves Hip Hop. DJ DNA will be spinning classic original hip hop samples as well the hits that are created from them. Free. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Nola Seafood and Spirits, 36 East Cross Street. For more information, go to: nolaseafoodandspirits.com, or call: 667-900-6652. 

Teri Henderson is the Arts and Culture Editor of Baltimore Beat. She is the author of the 2021 book Black Collagists. Previously, she was a staff writer for BmoreArt, gallery coordinator for Connect +...