Juneteenth Celebrations Showcasing Equality and Freedom
Museums all throughout the country are using Juneteenth Celebrations such as picnics, marches, and other events as an opportunity to spread awareness of freedom and justice.
Through BLKFREEDOM.org and the second annual Virtual Juneteenth celebration, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte joins forces with another museum in Duke Energy’s service area, the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, and other organizations to celebrate Juneteenth.
Each of these organizations has created a short film explaining the meaning of “We the People” as it appears in the U.S. Constitution’s preamble.
Each museum in We the People selected a theme for their video. “Persevere” was chosen as the Freedom Center’s theme. In order to create a movie about the subject, The Gantt Center collaborated with South Carolina-based visual artist Frankie Zombie.
The celebration of Juneteenth is named after the day (June 19) in the summer of 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the freedom of the 250,000 black slaves there. It had been two months since General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War, and it had been two and a half years since President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation liberating slaves held in Confederate states.
In Texas, Juneteenth was first celebrated. In 2021, “Freedom Day” was declared a federal holiday.
Afeni Grace, manager of educational projects and public programming at the Gantt Center, stated that including communities in Juneteenth celebrations is crucial to understanding American history and culture.
“The festival is a representation of freedom, liberty, and justice, all of which are at its core.”
Advocates for African Americans, a resource group for employees at Duke Energy, exhorts coworkers to engage in local activities by attending them. According to Cameron McDonald, chief diversity and inclusion officer of the organization, “Our objective is to establish a culture of inclusion and belonging. Because we think it’s crucial to assist our neighbourhood communities, our employee resource groups have a significant impact on bringing together and representing the communities we work with.
According to Grace, the lessons learned during Juneteenth are still relevant today.
The current social justice problems in our communities have their roots in this past, according to Grace. “Juneteenth gives the American people a chance to consider what freedom really is and how it isn’t only a privilege of a particular kind of person or class of people,”