Pittsburgh Celebrates Juneteenth Freedom Day

Pittsburgh Embraces Juneteenth – the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.

Four women attending the Juneteenth Celebration in Pittsburgh, PA, pose for a photo at the event.

Pittsburgh will celebrate the Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Homecoming Celebration June 17-19, 2022 in Point State Park and Market Square! This free, family-friendly event is a Celebration of all Cities and Boroughs in Allegheny County and will feature African American Culture Education, speakers, live music and local vendors! Funk-soul band War will headline the performances in Point State Park, with other artists including Arrested Development, DJ Holiday, Rose Royce, Talib Kweli and The Dazz Band, among others. More live music can be found in Market Square, with the full artist line-up available below.

New for 2022, the festival will welcome dozens of minority-owned small businesses, artisans and other vendors at a Juneteenth Minority Vendor Plaza along Liberty and Penn Avenues, just outside of Point State Park. At 10 a.m. Saturday, June 18, the Grand Jubilee Juneteenth Parade will make its way through Downtown Pittsburgh, followed by a voting rights forum at 1 p.m.

Don't miss special Juneteenth events being hosted by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy the week prior in Frick park, including a Juneteenth concert featuring local artists Sierra Sellars and Chandra Rhyme and a 'From Slavery to Freedom' garden tour, an extension of Heinz History Center’s From Slavery to Freedom exhibition. The August Wilson African American Culture Center is also hosting a series of lectures on June 12, 14 and 15 featuring guest speakers Dr. Anthony Browder and Professor Ashra Kwesi.

2022 Juneteenth In-The-Square Entertainment Artist Line-Up

Friday, June 17th 

  • 496 West Band
  • Kevin Howard Jazz
  • Dr. James Johnson & Pittsburgh Jazz All-Stars
  • The House of Soul Band

Saturday, June 18th 

  • Jacequea Mae & Friends
  • Sammy Deleon & Friends
  • Saxophonist Derek Redd
  • Sunshine Anderson
  • Tubby Danial's Band

Sunday, June 19th

  • Anita Levels & Soulvation
  • Bill Henry Band
  • DJ Brother Marlon
  • DJ Spinderlla 
  • Soul Raydio Band
  • Pittsburgh's Juneteenth Gospel Choir

Continue the celebration a few weeks later at the 2022 Pittsburgh Black Music Festival, July 14-17. Also hosted at Point State Park and Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh, the four-day festival features live jazz, gospel, hip-hop, RnB, funk, blues and soul performances.


History of Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. 

“Juneteenth” serves as a way to celebrate and commemorate the news shared on June 19, 1865. Early celebrations included reassurance among descendants, praying and gathering of remaining family members. In fact, many of the activities present at the first Juneteenth celebrations, including fishing, barbecuing and baseball, are still present today. Most importantly, the day is a time for education and self-improvement. 

On June 19, 2019, Pennsylvania officially designated June 19 a state holiday – “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.” In August 2020, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto declared that Juneteenth will become a City holiday in 2021; and in October, Allegheny County Council made Juneteenth a county holiday beginning in 2021. 

For more information on the 2022 Western Pennsylvania Juneteenth Celebration & Black Music Festival, please visit WPAjuneteenth.com