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Oyibo Afoaku
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

IUB's Juneteenth Freedom Celebration to feature music, crafts, a parade and a pageant

June 5, 2007

2006 Juneteenth

Photo by: George Vlahakis

Dancers perform at 2006's Juneteenth Freedom Celebration

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University and its Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, in collaboration with the City of Bloomington and Ivy Tech Community College, will present the ninth annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration on June 30 in Bloomington, featuring African and African American music, dance, food and crafts.

The celebration, which is open to the public, will begin with a community parade that will start at 10 a.m. at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave., and conclude at Bloomington's Bryan Park, 1100 S. Woodlawn Ave. Festivities will continue at Bryan Park until 4 p.m. A new feature this year will be a Juneteenth King and Queen Pageant.

In the event of inclement weather, the parade will be cancelled and the Juneteenth celebration will be held inside the 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 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.

Oyibo Afoaku, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, said the Juneteenth King and Queen Pageant will give the Bloomington community an opportunity to celebrate and encourage the talent and intelligence of its black residents. "From ancient ancestors to our children, the spirit of royalty exists in each and every one of us. It is time we recognize and nourish positive images of our community members," she said.

Those interested in participating in the pageant must complete an application and return it to the NMBCC by June 15 at 5 p.m. Applicants must be at least 13 years of age, be willing to present their talent in a three- to five-minute routine, submit an essay (no more than 500 words) on the topic, "What Juneteenth Means to You, Today," and participate in a short question and answer session.

Application forms for multicultural and information booths and food vendors also are available from the NMBCC. An entry form also is required from those who wish to be in the parade.

2006 Juneteenth

Photo by: George Vlahakis

Performers at the 2006 Juneteenth Freedom Celebration

Print-Quality Photo

Complete information is available at the event's Web site at or by calling (812) 855-9271 or by sending an e-mail to

At the park, events will begin at 11 a.m. with a call to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," followed by welcoming remarks by Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart and IU Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Richard McKaig. They will be followed by a keynote speech by William Vance, president of the Bloomington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Performers will include DJ Popcorn, Cry of the Children and Gumboot Dance. There also will be a drumming workshop by internationally acclaimed master musician Kwesi Brown.

IU sponsors for the festival are the Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs, International Programs, student organizations, Multicultural Initiatives, the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, Office of Diversity Education, Residential Programs and Services, Student Affairs and University Relations. Other sponsors are the City of Bloomington, Ivy Tech Community College and Coca-Cola Bottling Co.