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Oyibo Afoaku
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

Susan Ashe
Union Board

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2005

2005 Juneteenth Freedom celebration to feature parade, guest speaker, musical performances

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University and its Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center will present the seventh annual Juneteenth Freedom celebration on June 25 in Bloomington, featuring a parade through the community, musical performances and a keynote speaker.

The community is invited to participate in a parade that will begin at 10 a.m. at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave., and conclude at the city's Bryan Park, located between Woodlawn and Henderson avenues south of First Street. Festivities will continue at Bryan Park until 4 p.m. and also will include ethnic food, multicultural vendors and recreational activities.

Long celebrated among African Americans, Juneteenth observes the end of slavery in the United States, said to have occurred two and a half years 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 a lecture by Leroy Robinson, an Indianapolis educator, the author of several books on issues facing African American families and young people, and the host of a weekly national talk program for New Black City Radio.

Robinson is author of The Seven Steps to Student Success; Voluntary Servitude, Breaking the Chains: Mental and Psychological Slavery; and The Family Crisis in Black America. He also writes a weekly column, "Education Does Matter," for the Indianapolis Recorder. He created and conducts seminars for young black leaders -- which have been produced on DVD -- and a leadership academy for several public schools in the Indianapolis area.

Robinson will present his keynote address at 11:20 a.m., after welcoming remarks by Sachiko Higgins-Kante and Eric Love of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Oyibo H. Afoaku, the center's director, and Kevin D. Brown, director of the Hudson-Holland Scholars Program, will offer closing remarks.

Others participating at this year's celebration include the choirs of the Second Baptist Church of Bloomington and the Anointed Harvest Church and the Second Baptist Church of Bedford, soloist Amala K. Afoaku, and Jolivette J. Anderson, a poet from the Purdue University Black Culture Center.

Several IU students, including musical performers Delia Alexander and Paula Bryant and dancers Madeleine Gonin and Shirley Stephens -- will participate. Charlotte Battin Productions will present the drama, "Freedom Is My Home," about people who demonstrated kindness and courage through the Underground Railroad. There also will be a clown performer, an open mike contest and children's activities.

In case of rain, events will be moved inside the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

The sponsors for the festival are the IU Office of Academic Support and Diversity, African American Arts Institute, Auxiliary Services and Programs, Black Graduate Student Association, Bloomington Black Business and Professional Association, Chick-Fil-A, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, Dean of Faculties Office, Diversity Education Office, International Programs, IU Student Foundation, IU Auditorium, Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Neal-Marshall Student Group, Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Facilities Coordinator, Residential Programs and Services, Student Affairs, Union Board and Wells Library.

For more information, contact the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at 812-855-9271 or or go to Registration forms for the open mike contest and parade are available from Higgins-Kante, the center's administrative assistant, and should be returned by June 15.