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Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2003

IUB's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center sponsors 2003 Juneteenth celebration

Music, food, ethnic and multicultural vendors, games and other activities will take place in Bloomington's Bryan Park on June 28 in honor of Juneteenth. The celebration is being presented by Indiana University's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Long celebrated among African Americans, Juneteenth observes the end of slavery in the United States, said to have occurred two months after the end of the Civil War, when word of the Confederate surrender finally reached the furthest corner of southern Texas. Juneteenth is a day set aside to honor the memory of those who endured slavery and those who progressed from slavery to freedom.

This year's Juneteenth celebration -- IU's fifth -- will feature live performances by the Afro-Hoosier Band International, the Hip Hop Congress, the Second Baptist Church Choir and the Anointed Harvest Church Choir. There also will be an open microphone, children's activities and a special recognition of African American graduates of area high schools. Ethnic food will be available.

Paulette Patterson Dilworth, IU assistant professor of education, will present a keynote address at 1:30 p.m. on the history of Juneteenth. At 3:30 p.m., Michelle McClure will speak on the history of the Black Culture Center.

"We wanted to have the celebration on a weekend and at a place where the whole community could participate," said Oyibo Afoaku, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. "This is a joyous occasion for everyone, and we think it will be a great day for people of all races, backgrounds and ages."

The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 6 p.m. at the park, which is between Woodlawn and Henderson streets south of Maxwell Lane. In case of rain, the events will be moved inside the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, located at 275 N. Jordan Ave. on the IU Bloomington campus.

The sponsors for the festival are the City of Bloomington, the IU African American Arts Institute, the Afro-Hoosier Band International, the IU Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Hoosiers for Higher Education, IU Bloomington Libraries, the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library, the IU Office of Multicultural Affairs, the IU Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Diversity, Sheer Elegance Draperies, Blinds and More, the Office of Campus and Community Partnerships, the Groups Program, the FASE Mentoring Program, the MAP/MASS Program and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center facilities coordinator.

For more information, contact the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at 812-855-9271 or or go to