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Storytelling and musical events planned around Alexandria to celebrate Juneteenth

The Contrabands and Freedmens Cemetery Memorial at 1001 S. Washington Street in Old Town (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Office of Historic Alexandria is going all out for Juneteenth this year with four events, a storytelling event, and more around the city.

Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, marks the end of slavery in the United States.

There are several city-led programs around Alexandria between this weekend and next marking the occasion with programs available for all ages.

According to the Office of Historic Alexandria:

  • Tales for Young Historians: Saturday, June 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Beatley Library (5005 Duke Street) — The Alexandria Black History Museum and the Alexandria Library invite you to a collaborative event celebrating Juneteenth. All are welcome, but the event is geared toward children ages 5-8.
  • Juneteenth at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum: Friday, June 16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum (105 N Union Street, Unit 327) — Visit the Alexandria Archaeology Museum for a hands-on activity related to a free Black site excavated in Alexandria. The activity is paired with the new Lee Street Site permanent archaeology exhibit. The Lee Street Site answers questions like: what is urban archaeology; what did the city look like in the past; and what do archaeologists do? The newly designed exhibit centers the experiences of free and enslaved African Americans in Alexandria.
  • Douglass Cemetery Remembrance: Saturday, June 17, 10 -11:30 a.m. at Douglass Cemetery (105 N Union Street) — Join supporters and volunteers at this historic Black cemetery to place purple ribbons of remembrance on the gravestones and attend a short ceremony following in honor of those buried in Douglass Cemetery and the Juneteenth holiday. In partnership with the Social Responsibility Group (SRG) and the Friends of Douglass Cemetery.
  • Washington Revels Jubilee Voices Concert – Singing the Journey: Juneteenth Joy: Monday, June 19, 2 p.m. at Market Square (300 King Street) —  Enjoy traditional African American songs of struggle and freedom with the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices ensemble. The ensemble is committed to the preservation of African American history and traditions – presenting songs and stories of struggle and perseverance, trials and triumphs, as expressed through a cappella music, drama, and dance. Inaugurated in 2010, the group now performs regularly at heritage sites throughout the Washington D.C. area, singing, sharing, and learning the stories of the people in those communities. Event is weather dependent.

The Alexandria Black History Museum is also hosting extended hours on Monday, June 19, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. At 10 a.m., the museum is hosting a storytelling event with Alexandria Living Legend Lillian Patterson.

There are also self-guided tours around Alexandria for locals hoping to explore more of the city’s Black history.

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