Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in Little Rock

This month, several Little Rock events will honor Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. on June 19. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas after the Civil War in 1865 when enslaved people discovered they were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021.

Celebrations are taking place all across the city. Here are just a few options of where to join in:


Juneteenth Arkansas Festival

The Juneteenth Arkansas Festival takes place Saturday, June 15, from 2-10 p.m. A parade will kick off downtown at 2 p.m. at 600 Markham St. and will end at the First Security Amphitheater where attendees are invited to participate in carnival games, enjoy food, vendors, music, a kids zone, African cultural education and more from 4-10 p.m. For more information, visit the Juneteenth Arkansas Festival website and Facebook page.


Juneteenth in Da Rock

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will host the 15 annual Juneteenth in Da Rock Celebration on June 15 from 7 a.m.- 6 p.m. This free festival will take place on historic Ninth Street with a block party for the whole family. There, you’ll find food trucks, activities for kids, vendor booths, educational opportunities and more, as well as a day full of live music. In the morning, the third annual Juneteenth 5K walk/run will tour through Little Rock’s Black historical sites beginning at 7 a.m. Click here for more information on Juneteenth in Da Rock.


Juneteenth Gospel Celebration

Enjoy an evening of celebration and worship at Philander Smith University on Sunday, June 16, at 4 p.m. Attendees can take part in the kids zone, enjoy free food, fun activities, Black history lessons and more. The gospel concert presented by Alma Brown and A-1 Gospel Singers will kick off at 5 p.m. with multiple musical performances and special appearances. The JT line dancers will also be joining in on the celebration. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.


Juneteenth at the Little Rock Zoo

Commemorate Juneteenth at the Little Rock Zoo with a special celebration on June 19 from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. All visitors will enjoy a $2 discount on admission to the zoo. Peruse the park and meet some local animal friends, take the kids on the carousel or express train and enjoy a fun meal at Café Africa.


“Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” at CALS

CALS will host screenings of “Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom” at various libraries throughout the month. In partnership with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Arkansas PBS, this film tells the story of a Black man troubled by the legacy of American slavery and the misuse of Christianity to justify it. Through his travels, he discovers how Juneteenth reveals the hope and courage that empowered formerly enslaved people and their descendants to fight for freedom. Click here to find a screening near you.


UA Little Rock Juneteenth Celebration

Commemorate Freedom Day at UA Little Rock’s third annual Juneteenth Celebration on Wednesday, June 19. Celebrate freedom and heritage within Black culture, and reflect upon the legacy of Juneteenth. The UALR Communications department will present “What Juneteenth Means to Me” at 9 a.m. A Kitchen Express Meal will take place from 12-2 p.m. where guests can enjoy a meal and explore resource tables. At 2 p.m., a Juneteenth performance and lecture will take place at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall. Click here for more information.


“Love Jones” at Rooftop Cinema at 6th & Scott

Shaniya Abrams, aka @savouringshaniya, is hosting a special free Juneteenth showing of “Love Jones” in collaboration with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, The Residences at Harbor Town and the Rock City Yacht Club as part of the Rooftop Cinema series at 6th and Scott streets. Bring your blankets, lawn chairs and pillows as you enjoy food and drinks and watch this romantic classic while the sun sets over the Little Rock skyline. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

If you’re unable to participate in these activities, you can take the self-led Little Rock Civil Rights Tour, the Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour or simply opt to spend the day in Black-owned Little Rock.

Related Articles