Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Arts & Culture
Published on June 10, 2023
San Francisco Celebrated Its First Official Juneteenth Parade on SaturdayPhotos: Cheryl L. Guerrero/Hoodline

The city of San Francisco kicked off its Juneteenth celebrations with the first annual Juneteenth Parade on Saturday. The inaugural procession spanned seven city blocks, making its way up Market Street to the Civic Center. Though there have been unofficial parades recognizing the occasion in prior years, this marked the first-ever official Juneteenth parade for San Francisco.

The term “Juneteenth” is in reference to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers finally reached Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War was over, and the enslaved population was freed. Though the Emancipation Proclamation, which legally ended slavery, was signed into law in 1863, enslaved Blacks in the South remained in bondage until the end of the Civil War two years later. Celebrated throughout the country, Juneteenth was made an official federal holiday in 2021.

Part of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women SF make their way down Market Street. | Photo: Cheryl L. Guerrero/Hoodline


“Today is history day,” said Derrick Green, a local minister from the Bayview District. Green said the community had been working for years to get the parade and celebration officially recognized. “It’s a great feeling,” he added. “We’re here to stay and we’re here to build up. It’s a proud moment.”

The parade, along with the 3rd annual Juneteenth on the Waterfront, which also took place on Saturday at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, commenced a month of Juneteenth events. Mayor Breed is hosting a celebration on Friday at City Hall and next Saturday, 6/17, is the Juneteenth-SF Freedom Celebration in the Fillmore District.

Prescott Circus Theatre participants navigate the grates on Market Street during the parade. | Photo: Cheryl L. Guerrero/Hoodline

Today’s festivities began at the start of Market Street, with the Ferry Building as a backdrop. The parade itself featured ten floats and contingents of classic cars, corvettes, motorcycles, dancers, a marching band, and the Oakland Black Cowboy Association.

The classic cars that participated were part of the Fo’ Fifteen Car Club. Carl Craig, the car club president, said he had been a part of unofficial Juneteenth parades in the city for the last fifteen years, but this was a memorable occasion.

“This is a blessing right now for us to be on Market Street,” Craig reflected. “This is the first of, hopefully, many more.”

Here are more scenes from Saturday’s parade:

One of the 3rd place winners in the Mr. & Ms. Juneteenth pageant smiles from atop their float. 

The winners of the Mr. & Mrs. Juneteenth pageant. | Photo: Cheryl Guerrero/Hoodline

Mayor London Breed waves a flag at the beginning of the parade. 


Lyric Performing Arts Academy makes its way down Market Street. 

Code Tenderloin float participants wave to the crowd. 

Carl Craig, President of the Fo' Fifteen Car Club, stands next to his ride before the start of the parade. 


A classic car participant leans out to take a photo of the line-up during the parade. 


The Feline Finesse Dance Company float. 


San Francisco's Phillip Burton High School Puma Marching Band. 


SF Supervisor Myrna Melgar. 


The Oakland Black Cowboy Association riders on Market Street. 


Musical artists perform atop a float. 


A member of the Oakland Black Cowboy Association. 

A Prescott Circus Theatre performer high-fives a parade attendee.