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George Vlahakis

Michael Wilkerson

Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2002

IU's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center sponsors Juneteenth celebration

Music, food, African and Afrocentric vendors, games and other activities will take place in Bloomington's Bryan Park on June 29 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.

This year's Juneteenth celebration -- IU's fourth -- will feature live performances by the Afro-Hoosier Band International, the Kurt Lubbe Quartet and the West Indian Folk Dance Company of Chicago. Frederick McElroy, a professor in IU's Department of Afro-American Studies, will present a keynote address at 1 p.m. There also will be a children's activities booth and a special recognition of African American graduates of area high schools.

"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 4 p.m. 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 IU African American Arts Institute, the Afro-Hoosier Band International, the IU Department of Afro-American 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 and the IU Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Diversity.

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