Montana Historical Society

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Wednesday, June 19 through Saturday, June 22


Helena Celebrates Juneteenth

This year, local Helena organizations have come together to plan four days of activities in celebration of Juneteenth. The Montana Historical Society, The Myrna Loy, Holter Museum, City of Helena, Alive at Five, and Art Mobile are excited to announce the following events listed below. Click the link here to learn more about Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Events

  • Tuesday, June 18 through Saturday, June 22, 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Sunday, June 23, 12:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Nobody's Free Until Everybody's Free
    Holter Museum of Art
    12 E Lawrence St, Helena
    Artwork by community members

    Art made by community members of all ages by the quote “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free”, by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, will be exhibited at the Holter Museum of Art. Click the link here for information about a special Friday event!

  • Wednesday, June 19, 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Alive at Five
    Women' Park
    500 Fuller Ave, Helena
    Music by The Good the Bad and the Blues

    Alive at Five will feature The Good the Bad and the Blues playing their unique mixture of Gospel, Blues, Soul, and Funk. Speakers will highlight Juneteenth and announce the week’s activities. Stop by the Juneteenth Planning Committee’s tent for a schedule of activities, photos, and information on Black history from Montana and to create art to contribute to the community exhibit at the Holter. There is a $2 donation for a wristband to purchase alcohol, and proceeds will go to Montana Black Collective Missoula.

  • Thursday, June 20, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    Community Barbecue
    Helena Civic Center Lawn
    340 Neill Ave, Helena
    Hosted by the City of Helena

    The City of Helena will host a free community barbecue. The Helena Fire Department will do the cooking and will have their trucks out for kids to enjoy. There will be lawn games and other activities for the whole family.

  • Thursday, June 20, 7:30 p.m.
    Stand-up Comic Kevin Bozeman
    The Myrna Loy
    15 N Ewing St, Helena

    With a smooth and clever style, a great smile, and a contagious laugh, Kevin has been entertaining in clubs and colleges across the country. He was a semi-finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2015 and has appeared on Comedy Central, NBC, CBS and Fox. Tickets are $22 and available for purchase at The Myrna Loy. Click here for a link to purchase tickets. This event features content rated for adults.

  • Friday, June 21, 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
    Nobody's Free Until Everybody's Free
    Holter Museum of Art
    12 E Lawrence St, Helena
    Artwork by community members

    The Holter Museum will be open to the public with free entry. Art by community members responding to Fannie Lou Hamer’s quote, “Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free”, will be on display, and visitors can create their own art to add to the exhibit. From 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., there will be a reception to celebrate everyone’s contributions to this collaborative effort.

  • Friday, June 21, 7:00 p.m.
    Hidden Stories: Montana’s Black Past
    The Myrna Loy
    15 N Ewing St, Helena

    The Myrna Loy will screen Hidden Stories: Montana’s Black Past, a documentary chronicling African American journeys to and within Montana, as well as events and policies that influenced their experiences. Documenting individual and family stories over two centuries, the film provides insight into Black communities’ resilience statewide. The free screening is sponsored by the Montana Historical Society and will be followed by a Q&A panel with individuals involved in the film’s production and content.
    Click this link for screening flyer.

  • Saturday, June 22, Afternoon and Evening
    Juneteenth Activities
    The Myrna Loy
    15 N Ewing St, Helena

    Juneteenth activities will take place in and around The Myrna Loy throughout the afternoon and evening.

    • 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.
      Black History Tour Train

      The Montana Historical Society will lead special tours highlighting the Black history of downtown Helena in partnership with the Last Chance Tour Train. Prior registration is required.
      Register for the 12:15 p.m. tour train with this link.
      Register for the 1:15 p.m. tour train with this link.

    • 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
      Juneteenth-themed children’s art activities

      Outside The Myrna Loy, staff from the Holter will lead Juneteenth-themed children’s art activities including sidewalk chalk for younger kids and art creation with teaching artists from the Art Mobile for older kids.

    • 2:30 p.m.
      Summer of Soul

      There will be a screening of the film Summer of Soul, a powerful documentary that is part music film and art historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion: The Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. Tickets can be purchased for $10 from the Myrna Loy.
      Click this link to purchase tickets.

    • Juneteenth Block Party
      Click this link for block party flyer.

      • 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
        Food Trucks

        Attendees can grab a bite to eat from food trucks while contributing to the sidewalk chalk art.

      • 4:45 p.m.
        Guest speaker Jason Forges

        Enjoy a spoken word performance by Montana Black Collective Missoula social justice artist Jason Forges

      • 5:30 - 9:00 p.m.
        Live music from DJ Andrea Crossguns

        Listen and dance to music from DJ Andrea Crossguns to close out the week’s festivities.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth, or June 19, commemorates the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which had declared the end of slavery in places under Confederate control two and a half years earlier. The proclamation had been largely ignored in Texas. Newly freed Black people celebrated and started an annual tradition of Juneteenth commemorations with music, barbecues, services, and other activities.

The holiday offers an opportunity to center the African American experience and collectively celebrate Black freedom. It is a time to gather as a community and recognize African Americans’ long presence and many contributions to Montana’s, and our nation’s, history. And it is a time to reflect on the meaning of freedom and the ongoing fight for racial justice.

According to Mary Elliott, Curator of American Slavery at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, “Juneteenth is important, because it reminds us of what we came through and what we can achieve. … [It is] a rallying call for all of us to think about the meaning of freedom, particularly regarding African Americans, as well as to the nation and the rest of the world.”

2024 Juneteenth Helena events banner
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