Juneteenth jubilation draws hundreds to DuSable festival: There’s ‘a lot of kinship going on’

The music performances, vendors, kids’ activities and Black history education felt “almost like a family reunion,” one participant said.

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Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Hundreds of people gathered at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center in Hyde Park on Sunday amid red, green and black Pan-African flags, sporting shirts and bags with phrases like “hella Black, hella liberated” and “end systemic racism.”

This outdoor celebration of Juneteenth — with music performances, vendors, kids’ activities and Black history education — felt “almost like a family reunion,” said Zephanie Battle, a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute.

“A lot of kinship going on,” Auburn Gresham building administrator Michael Moslui added. “This is what the Black community needs.”

Juneteenth is the newly minted federal holiday recognizing the freedom of the remaining enslaved Black people in Texas on June 19, 1865.

Chicago and Illinois both designated Juneteenth as a holiday last year. Many businesses and government offices are closed Monday.

But for some people, like retired teacher Janice Rowe, the day’s significance is more important than a day off of work or a Sunday barbecue.

“It’s an event that happened,” Rowe said. “It wasn’t a holiday for them. For them, I’ve come a long way.”

Children jump inside a bouncy house Sunday at DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth BBQ and Block Party.

Children jump inside a bouncy house Sunday at DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth BBQ and Block Party.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Chance the Rapper walks through the DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth BBQ and Block Party on Sunday.

Chance the Rapper walks through the DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth BBQ and Block Party on Sunday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The DuSable Museum celebration featured performances by different bands, and famed Chicago native Chance the Rapper made an appearance and was set to perform. Bounce houses, yoga and baseball games entertained kids, many of whom were brought by their parents to celebrate Black culture.

Families listen to music, dance and play games  Sunday during the DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth festival. “I just knew it was gonna be a great atmosphere,” said Kenitha Brown, who brought her 5-month-old son, Malik Hilliard Jr.

Families listen to music, dance and play games Sunday during the DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth festival. “I just knew it was gonna be a great atmosphere,” said Kenitha Brown, who brought her 5-month-old son, Malik Hilliard Jr.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“I just knew it was gonna be a great atmosphere,” said Kenitha Brown, who brought her 5-month-old son, Malik Hilliard Jr. “I feel like this will be a big event for him to celebrate when he’s older.”

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker gave a short speech and said while celebrating is important, more action needs to follow, including health care and criminal justice reform.

“Having a day isn’t enough,” Pritzker said. “It’s about delivering for Black families.”

Juneteenth celebrations across Chicago took place throughout the weekend and continue Monday.

Tommy Blair and Janice Rowe find some shade to relax Sunday at the DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth festival.

Tommy Blair and Janice Rowe find some shade to relax Sunday at the DuSable Museum’s Juneteenth festival.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

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