Chandler, Tempe, Tucson, Phoenix, and Yuma will all be home to celebrations of black history and culture on June 16 or 17.
James Tyner/

From a balcony in Galveston, Texas, Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced “all slaves are free” as he read General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865.

But that was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had ended slavery in the Southern states on Jan. 1, 1863.

Why it took so long for Texas slaves to get the word is a subject for debate, but for the past 152 years, Juneteenth celebrations have taken hold in many parts of the country, including Arizona. The holiday is the United States’ oldest known celebration of the end of slavery and became an official state holiday last year.

MORE AZCENTRAL ON SOCIAL: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

The following five events in the Grand Canyon State on June 16 and 17 will honor the African-American experience with music, art, educational presentations, kids activities, a mobile museum and food.

Chandler Juneteenth Celebration

The South Chandler Self-Help Foundation and city of Chandler are hosting a gospel concert on Friday, June 16, at the Chandler Center for the Arts. The featured artist is Kevin Lemons & Higher Calling, who will be traveling to the event from Atlanta. Four other groups will be performing, and food will be served prior to the event starting at 5 p.m. There will also be informational displays about black history.

Details: Food at 5 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m., performances start at 7 p.m. Friday, June 16. 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler. Free, with small costs for food. 480-699-1320,

Tempe Juneteenth Celebration

The Tempe History Museum and African American Advisory Committee will host this third-annual family-friendly event to honor African-American heritage. The event’s theme is “Freedom, Education, Finance and Family.” Visitors can go to information tables to learn about historically black colleges and universities and managing money, among other things. There will be music and dance performances, raffles, and snow cone and barbecue vendors. Visitors can also see the museum galleries and Kids Place.

Details: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 17. 809 E. Southern Ave., Tempe. Free. 480-350-5100,

Tucson Juneteenth Festival

Tucson has held Juneteenth events since 1970 to celebrate African-American achievement and the abolition of slavery. This year’s event will take place indoors at the Dunbar Cultural Center and feature presentations, arts and crafts, music and dancing.

Details: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 17. 325 W. Second St. Free. 520-405-5826,

Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom

Celebrate the day at Eastlake Park Community Center. Arizona Informant Foundation hosts the event, which will feature performances, a movie screening and a basketball tournament. Health screenings, vendors, educational dialogues, a Buffalo Soldiers presentation, a kids zone and a youth town hall also will be included.

Details: 4-9 p.m. Saturday, June 17. 1549 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. Free. 623-282-1555,

Yuma Juneteenth Celebration

The Yuma Chapter of the NAACP will host a celebration on Main Street with games, an eating contests, dance groups, and guest speakers. A gospel choir and Side Hustle Band will provide music and vendors will sell food and crafts.

Details: 6-11 p.m. Saturday, June 17. Main Street, Yuma. Free admission. 928-783-4305.


Best things to do this week

Biggest upcoming events

Top events for kids this week

Latest concert announcements

Read or Share this story: