As a city well known or its history and readiness to celebrate, we are looking forward to Juneteenth and the special day to commemorate and rejoice in the achievements of African Americans. 

What is Juneteenth?

On June 19, 1865, the final enslaved people in the United States were finally freed. The slow progress of ending slavery after the Emancipation Proclamation meant some were still living in slavery long past its signing, over two years prior. June 19, referred to as Juneteenth, is a holiday to remember and honor the history of African Americans and to celebrate Black culture. Keep reading for Juneteenth celebrations in Columbia, South Carolina going on this year and other ways to honor Black culture and history all year round. 

In Celebration

The 8th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival will be held on June 15 at Dutch Square Mall. The free event will feature activates for the entire family including kids’ area, games, live music, DJ performances, food trucks, and shopping with local vendors and exhibitors. Other Juneteenth Celebrations include:

In Honor

Explore Black Art

Columbia SC is rich with Black creators and artists. From historical monuments to brightly colored murals, these creative minds have defined the Columbia SC arts scene. 

  • In celebration of Juneteenth, the Columbia Museum of Art is open and offering free admission on June 19 form 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Enjoy exhibitions Sergio Hudson: Focused on the Fit and (Un)Settled: The Landscape in American Art as well as the CMA Collection. Join the Friends of African American Art & Culture’s Nancy Tolson for a tour of Black art in the Collection at 1:00 p.m. Or come early to experience Morning Blend: A Jazz, Soul, and Coffee Series on Boyd Plaza from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Free.
  • Juneteenth Entrepreneur, Film and Television Extravaganza held in the Main Street District on June 18 and 19. Hear from featured speakers, see films about Columbia's Black Wall Street at The Nick Theater, and join in the grand finale celebration at the Columbia Museum of Art

Tour the Reconstruction Trail

The Reconstruction Era marked the challenging post-Civil War period in the United States and a remarkable time of change in Columbia SC. Experience a Journey Through the Reconstruction Era with a visit to local sites that were pivotal during that time. Pick up a booklet at the Columbia SC Visitors Center or view the online guide. 

Dine at a Black Owned Restaurant

Dig into some of the best food that Columbia SC has to offer. From vegan soul food to tasty breakfast spots, traditional Southern cuisine and food that celebrates African heritage, there are many options to celebrate the culture. Check out our blog on Black-Owned Businesses for a list of places to try!