Juneteenth is the June 19 holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. Long celebrated by the African American community, it is now an official Village of Oak Park holiday, as well as an official Oak Park Public Library holiday. It's also on its way to becoming an Illinois state holiday.
To observe the holiday, library buildings will close, and virtual customer support will be unavailable, on Saturday, June 19.
Our Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin, who last year helped make a local documentary called Hope of Juneteenth, has created an exhibit in the Main Library's Idea Box space. Griffin will also share Juneteenth stories at an outdoor library storytime.
Juneteenth Exhibit, Main Library Idea Box, June 5-25
The exhibit in the Main Library first-floor Idea Box (pictured above) features artifacts from past community Juneteenth celebrations in Oak Park as well as surrounding communities, including T-shirts, photos, flags, newspaper articles, and more.
We'll also be showing video of our Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin reading the official Oak Park proclamation, and the beginning of the documentary The Hope of Juneteenth (see more below).
Library Storytime, Scoville Park, June 16, 10 am
Library staff, including Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin, will share Juneteenth stories for kids and families, plus multicultural reading materials from the Oak Park Book Bike!
More on this storytime, including safety guidelines »
Oak Park Juneteenth Day of Freedom Celebration, Taylor Park, June 19, 3-6 pm
As in years past, the community is invited to a large Juneteenth cookout picnic and car caravan, starting and ending at Taylor Park, 400 W. Division St., Oak Park. There will be music, food, drinks, games, and more, all free to the community.
More on the event and caravan route »
Black History Bike Tour, Historical Society of Oak Park & River Forest, June 19, 10 am-2 pm
Oak Park River Forest Museum will participate in the community's Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 19 by debuting a free, self-guided bicycle tour of sites that tell some of the many stories of African-American life in Oak Park. Pick up a map at the Oak Park River Forest Museum, 129 Lake St., Oak Park.
More on the self-guided tour »
Hope of Juneteenth film & more resources
Hope of Juneteenth documentary
The locally produced documentary Hope of Juneteenth celebrates the history and joy of Juneteenth, and the promise of hope for the future it brings.
The documentary, which our Multicultural Learning Coordinator Juanta Griffin helped make, was directed and produced by Forest Park community leader Marjorie Adam, funded by Riveredge Hospital, and supported by Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins.
Watch Hope of Juneteenth »