Juneteenth at Harvard: A celebration of Black freedom, food, and family traditions

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery across the nation and is often celebrated in African American communities with storytelling, cooking special recipes, and reflection on history and fellowship. Harvard University will be closed on Friday, June 18, 2021, in observance of the holiday. Learn more about the Juneteenth holiday and history.

Register for the Harvard community events in celebration of Juneteenth offered June 14-18.

June 14: On Juneteenth with Annette Gordon-Reed

On Juneteenth book coverJoin Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Harvard Carl M. Loeb University Professor, for a talk about her latest book On Juneteenth.  There will be a spoken word performance by Harvard college student Remka Nwana, and book giveaway to students and Harvard community members in need.


Register for On Juneteenth

Monday, June 14 at 4 p.m. ET

June 17: Black Smoke

Blake Smoke author Adrain E. MillerSoul food scholar and James Beard Book Award Winner Adrian E. Miller discusses the history of African American barbecue culture detailed in his book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue.  The talk will be moderated by Edmund Barry Gaither, executive director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and organizer of the Boston Franklin Park Annual Juneteenth Celebrations. Register and attend for a chance to recieve giveaways from Boston's Black-owned BBQ joint Larry J's.

Register for Black Smoke

Thursday, June 17 at 3 p.m. ET


June 18: One Night in Boston

Boston skyline illuminated against the Charles River at duskThe evening features musical performances, a film premier, and a tribute to Black Music Month. Events run through the weekend, and made possible by local organizations including the Harvard Medical School.


Register for One Night


Friday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. ET

June 17: Stories of Juneteenth: A Conversation with Ms. Opal

Photo of Ms. Opal Lee, grandmother of JuneteenthKnown as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth”, Ms. Opal Lee tells stories of her life and her personal journey to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday. Presented by the HCSPH Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Harvard Chan Research Scientists Association and will feature welcome remarks from Dean Michelle A Williams.


Register for Opal Lee talk


Thursday, June 17 at 11 a.m. ET (rescheduled from June 15)


June 17: Past, Present, and Future of Juneteenth

Red, black and green flag with gold lettering Juneteenth Freedom DayA panel of experts will discuss the history of Juneteenth, what the holiday means for Americans, and ways in which all communities can observe, reflect, and educate in commemoration. Shirley Greene, associate dean of students at Harvard's Division of Continuing Education (DCE) will join the discussion moderated by Kristen L. Pope, DCE social media manager and award-winning broadcast journalist.

Register for Panel Talk

June 17 at 1 p.m. ET