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Stephanie Power-Carter
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Public invited to 2012 Juneteenth Commemoration at IU Bloomington

June 13, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "Carrying the Lessons of the Past Into the Future: What Does It Really Mean to Be Free?" is the theme of the 14th Annual Juneteenth Commemoration being presented at 6 p.m. Friday, June 15, by Indiana University's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

Photo by Chris Meyer

IU's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

Print-Quality Photo

This year's event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Grand Hall of the center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

Note that this was 2½ years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official Jan. 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans because of the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new executive order. However, with the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee in April 1865, and the arrival of Granger's regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

"Our theme this year encourages us to examine freedom," said Stephanie Power-Carter, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. "After speaking with some community members, I found that a few of them viewed Juneteenth as celebrating people who were uninformed. However, I believe commemorating Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to interrogate and examine systematic injustice and how insidiously it was woven into the fabric of our nation.

"The question today is how has the meaning of freedom changed and evolved? Are we truly free? We invite the Bloomington community to participate in our program."

Co-sponsors for Juneteenth are the City of Bloomington, Ivy Tech Community College, IU Residential Programs and Services, Office of Women's Affairs, African American and African Diaspora Studies, the Groups Program and IU Diversity Education.

Parking is available in the Jordan Avenue parking garage. Call 812-855-9271 or email for more information.