Get engaged with these Juneteenth events

Vanderbilt University invites the community to several events celebrating Juneteenth hosted by a number of campus partners, including the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Vanderbilt recently announced that university staff will receive Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in United States, as a paid holiday beginning in 2023.

Juneteenth was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation to make the day a state holiday in May. 

Juneteenth 2023 events 


Hoops & Hope: Celebrating Black History and Community  

11 a.m.–5 p.m.| In person 

Vanderbilt University has partnered with PepsiCo, Hoopbus and Metro Nashville Parks to provide for the installation of a new outdoor basketball court at Watkins Park in North Nashville. 

Hoops & Hope is a celebration of the North Nashville community’s resilience, creativity and hope. It reminds us of the power of collaboration and the importance of preserving our history and culture. The event will celebrate the legacy of Perry Wallace, the first African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. Wallace, who died in 2017, made history when he enrolled at Vanderbilt in 1966 and broke the color barrier in the SEC. 

The event will take place on June 15 in honor of Juneteenth and will feature basketball clinics, games, activities for all ages, food and music. To help our local community centers, please bring a sports-related item for donation. 

This event will take place at Watkins Park. 


Juneteenth, Music and Black American Resilience 

11 a.m.–noon | Virtual 

Juneteenth provides a time to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. This is a time to acknowledge not only the impact of African enslavement, but also the endurance and resiliency of African American people. Music is often an unsung hero on the road to racial justice and equality. From spirituals that pointed a way on the Underground Railroad to gospel songs that offered comfort to many during the Civil Rights Movement, music has influenced and inspired the Black community in the face of racism in countless ways. 

Join this gathering to talk more about Juneteenth and the role music plays in the lives of Black Americans. 

Complete the following steps to register for the gatherings. 

  1. Visit 
  2. Upon reaching the log-in page, go to “New user? Register.” 
  3. Complete the registration form (enter #vanderbilt511 for the customer code). 
  4. Check your email for the link to complete the registration process. 


Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom

11 a.m.–2 p.m. | In person  

Join us for a festive Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom. This in-person event will feature several Black-owned food truck vendors, the rhythmic sounds of Nature’s Drummers, a DJ and numerous interactive Juneteenth games. The celebration begins at the Sarratt Promenade and ends at the Black Cultural Center courtyard. All attendees should start at the Sarratt Promenade to participate in Juneteenth activities and to receive tickets to visit the food trucks. 

While at the BCC courtyard, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the work of the Nashville Community Bail Fund. Each year, during the Juneteenth celebration, the BCC partners with a local nonprofit whose work and mission fit within the freedom spirit of the holiday. 

Click here to see photos from the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom. 

This event is co-sponsored by: 

  • The Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion 
  • Auxiliary Services (Campus Dining) 
  • Association of Vanderbilt Black Faculty and Staff 
  • The Department of African American and Diaspora Studies 
  • Vanderbilt Student Affairs 
  • Student Center for Social Justice and Identity 
  • School of Medicine Basic Sciences 
  • Vanderbilt University Police Department 


Community Day Juneteenth Celebration

10 a.m.–5 p.m. | In person

The Vanderbilt community is invited to attend Juneteenth activities at the National Museum of African American Music from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, June 19.

Details are included here and also on NMAAM’s website.

JUNETEENTH615 at Fort Negley Park

5–10 p.m. | In person

Vanderbilt University is a sponsor of the JUNETEENTH615 at Fort Negley ParkThis event is held annually on June 19 at Fort Negley Park in Nashville and is open to the community. Families are encouraged to attend. There will be live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, an official proclamation ceremony and a fireworks presentation. 

For tickets, please visit the JUNETEENTH615’s Eventbrite page.