Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It is also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, and Black Independence Day.
In August of 1619, on the colony of Virginia, the first enslaved Africans were brought to this country. 155 years ago, the promise of freedom finally reached the last enslaved person in Galveston, Texas. From the time of their arrival up through and including today, Black people have endured injustices rooted in white supremacy and systemic racism, which continue to result in oppression, brutalization, and murder. It is clear that black liberation has not yet been attained, thus we must continue to fight for justice.
For more information on the history of Juneteenth, visit Juneteenth.com.
"I Know Where I’ve Been" written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman for the musical Hairspray, is a powerful song of struggle and hope. It affirms the arduous journey of African Americans while it looks faithfully to a future free from darkness and filled with victory, symbolized by a light in the midst of that darkness.
It cautions that sitting still would be a sin because the rewards of pressing forward are plenteous and on that great day everyone will proclaim, “I’ll give thanks to my God ‘cause I know where I’ve been.”
Siani’s Radiant Liturgical Dance Ministry presents an interpretation of “Grace” by Eddie James featuring Dante Bowe. It is scripture in motion inspired by 2 Corinthians 12:9, which reads, “My Grace is sufficient for you for / My power is made perfect in weakness” (English Standard Version, 2016). We are reminded that despite hardship, shame, brutality, and trouble, the persecuted are strong because of God’s grace.
Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culturenmaahc.si.edu
Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture to explore virtual exhibitions, online collections and educational resources, including “Talking About Race.”
Visit Digital Schomburgnypl.org/about/locations/schomburg/digital-schomburg
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth” by the National Museum of African American History and Culturenmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/historical-legacy-juneteenth
“Our Other Independence Day” by the Smithsonian Magazinewww.smithsonianmag.com/history/juneteenth-our-other-independence-day-16340952/
“Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” PBS Series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: www.pbs.org/weta/reconstruction/home-preview/