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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Oyibo Afoaku
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

Last modified: Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Sixth annual Juneteenth celebration to feature parade, musical performances

Lucky Diop and his Kassumai Band

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center will present the sixth annual Juneteenth celebration on June 19 in Bloomington, featuring a parade through the community, musical performances and a drama about the Underground Railroad.

The community is invited to participate in a parade that will begin at 10 a.m. at IU's Showalter Fountain, 1211 E. Seventh St., and conclude at 11 a.m. at the city's Third Street Park, located between Washington and Lincoln streets. A parade participation program is available online at The first 100 persons to arrive will receive a free Juneteenth T-shirt, and free decorations will be provided for the first 10 vehicles.

Festivities will continue at Third Street Park until 4 p.m. and also will include ethnic food, multicultural vendors, games and other activities.

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 will feature live performances by Narada recording artist Lucky Diop and his Kassumai Band, an African and African American youth dance group associated with the Milwaukee Public Theater. Diop is a master drummer and a graduate of the National Conservatory of Music in Senegal, West Africa. They will perform from 1 to 2 p.m. and from 3:10 to 3:55 p.m.

Other musical groups performing at this year's celebration are the Second Baptist Church Choir and the Anointed Harvest Church Choir. A step dance group coordinated by Dellsie Boddie will perform. At 11:40 a.m., Charlotte Battin Productions will present the poignant drama, "Freedom Is My Home," about people who demonstrated kindness and courage through the Underground Railroad. There also will be an open mike contest and children's activities.

Clarence Gilliam, president of the Monroe County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will present a keynote address at 11:20 a.m., after welcoming remarks by Oyibo H. Afoaku, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, and Marsha R. Bradford, director of the city's Safe and Civil City Program.

In case of rain, 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 IU Office of Multicultural Affairs, Ivy Tech State College, the IU African American Arts Institute, Union Board, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Facilities Coordinator Office, the IU Office of Community and School Partnerships, and Alan Blankstein.

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