Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009
Juneteenth Freedom Celebration set for June 26
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The 11th annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, sponsored by Indiana University's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and previously scheduled as two-day event, has been consolidated into a one-evening gala on Friday, June 26.
Events begin at 5 p.m. in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.
Juneteenth is a significant date in American history. It recalls June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom. The commemoration of the beginning of freedom was dubbed "Emancipation Day" and is today the oldest national celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
"We take so much of what freedom means to us for granted, as if it has always been there. This celebration serves to remind us all that it has not. It took three centuries of struggle to end slavery. Yet this is a joyous celebration for everyone, and all freedom-loving people are invited," said Audrey T. McCluskey, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.
Co-sponsors for the event are the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Diversity Education, the Office of Women's Affairs, IU Foundation, IU Groups Program, IU Business Diversity, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., and IU Residential Programs and Services.
The Juneteenth Freedom Celebration will be an evening of culture and entertainment. Festivities begin with a reception in the Bridgwaters Lounge of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. One of the highlights will be the Juneteenth King/Queen Pageant in the Wells-Metz Theatre at 6:30 p.m. The theme of this year's pageant is "The Legacy of Juneteenth," and the importance of Emancipation Day to today's youth.
The program will also include presentation of the "Unsung Heroes" awards, which honor Bloomingtonians who have dedicated themselves to community service and who have had a direct impact on improving the lives of others. The Unsung Hero Award includes a monetary donation to a charitable organization of the recipients' choice.
Representatives from IU, Ivy Tech and the City of Bloomington will address the community.