Juneteenth is a holiday that puts the experience of Black Americans at the center of the story of freedom in America. As Congress considers making it a federal holiday, the Duke community will mark the day with a variety of virtual events.
The term Juneteenth comes from the date June 19, 1865, when enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas, found out that they were free a full two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation became official. Below is a roundup of Duke events and comments about the holiday.
2021 Juneteenth Events at Duke
All university events are on Friday, June 18
- Noon: Duke Health: Juneteenth Keynote Address by Michael Boulware Moore, diversity and inclusion officer at Blackbaud, “Why History Matters: Celebrating Juneteenth Together.” Zoom link: https://duke.zoom.us/j/96667747778?pwd=cGh3dmcwa2dJSjVMTGJabGxGcE1qdz09#success
- 12:30 p.m. Divinity School Online Service of Prayer in Celebration of Juneteenth. Watch the service on YouTube.
- 7:30 p.m. Ciompi Quartet: “Spiritual Voices.” In celebration of Juneteenth 2021, the Ciompi Quartet and Electric Earth Concerts will present a major work of Olly Wilson (1937-2018): "A City Called Heaven" for large ensemble. Also on the program is "Grist for the Mill," a work by Duke composer Anthony Kelley, who earned his Ph.D. studying with Wilson. Watch concert on the Department of Music Best of Biddle Website.
In addition, in Durham the 16th annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration will take place Saturday, June 19th, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., on East Main Street, between Roxboro and Dillard Streets.
What is Juneteenth About?
In a 2019 interview on PBS NewsHour, Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American Studies, took questions about the history of Juneteenth.
Faculty Discuss Juneteenth
A review of comments on the relevance of the event by Duke faculty members in major media.
Rev. Dr. Luke Powery: An ABC11 segment on the Juneteenth holiday features the Duke Chapel discussing the significance of the spirituals in African American culture, in the church, and around the world. "It's amazing to me that we have so many of these songs that we can turn to," Powery said. "The enslaved offer a gift to the world!" ABC11 Video.
Mark Anthony Neal: In the New York Times, the scholar of African American Studies said there are some comparisons between the end of the Civil War to the unrest that swept the country in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. New York Times Story.