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Sachiko Higgins-Kante
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, June 10, 2010

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration set for June 19

June 10, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at Indiana University Bloomington will host the 12th Annual Juneteenth Freedom Celebration next Saturday (June 19).

Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center

This year's Juneteenth celebration will take place at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Print-Quality Photo

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of enslavement in the United States. From its origin in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, the observance of June 19 as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

"We commemorate Juneteenth because it marks the beginning of the end of eight generations of enslavement of African people in America," said Audrey T. McCluskey, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. "Although the realization of freedom was to be an ongoing struggle, this beginning validated and reinforced the bright hope that had sustained enslaved people through their long, dark nightmare.

"Today, that optimism is needed as we celebrate our collective achievements and fortify ourselves for the work that remains," she added.

The event starts at 10 a.m. with the Juneteenth Parade, beginning at the north side of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, located at 275 N. Jordan Ave. The line-up for the parade will begin at 9:30 outside the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at the intersection of Seventh Street and Jordan Avenue.

Audrey McCluskey

Audrey McCluskey

Print-Quality Photo

This year, Juneteenth events will be held on the Bloomington campus, primarily in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Cener and the surrounding outdoor areas. In addition to the parade, there will be family friendly activities such as a short dramatic performance written and directed by Braeshaun Joyner, presentation of the Unsung Hero Recognition Award, the Juneteenth King and Queen Pageant and a children's booth.

Food, information and business vendors also will be included in the celebration. A Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament will feature special guest Sacramento Kings' forward and Bloomington native Sean May as host. Sign-in for the tournament will take place at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center prior to the tournament at the Wildermuth Intramural Center at the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 1025 E. Seventh St.

There is still time to registration for the Juneteenth parade, Unsung Hero Recognition and Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament. Anyone interested in participating may pick up the registration forms in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center office, located in suite A226. The forms must be returned to the center by specified dates. Additional information about each event follows:

  • All participants for the parade should arrive no later than 9 a.m. to the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Line-up for the parade will be held from 9 to 9:30 a.m. and the parade will begin promptly at 10 a.m..
  • Recommendations for Unsung Hero Recognition Award must be submitted to Debra Vance at by 5 p.m. on Friday (June 11).
  • For the basketball tournament, all teams are welcome and can have up to four players. A team registration fee of $20 must be paid at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center office by next Wednesday (June 16).
  • Those interested in vending or booth space need to complete a registration form available at the center's office. Fees for vendors are $50 for food sales and $25 for other sales. Booths are free for non-profit organizations and those only providing public affairs information.

More information about the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center and Juneteenth is available online at or by calling 812-855-9271.