Freedom Center among museums launching

On June 19th, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will join five other leading Black museums and historical institutions to launch, a digital commemoration of Juneteenth. Juneteenth is the day the Emancipation Proclamation was officially enforced, ending enslavement in Texas and effectively the entire United States. will air an original video presentation at noon this Friday, June 19th.

“Juneteenth marks the last of America’s enslaved being freed from the institution of chattel slavery,” says Chris Miller, senior director of education & community engagement for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “We celebrate Juneteenth as a reminder of the triumph and dignity of the human spirit through the lens of the African American experience.”

Along with the Freedom Center, those featured in’s video presentation are:

  • Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first African American and first historian to serve as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist, educator, museum director and the first female African American president of Spelman College
  • The Honorable Carla HaydenLibrarian of Congress, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library
The Honorable Carla Hayden

The launch of will commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread, emancipation did not come until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Grander landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended. He issued General Order No. 3, announcing the enslaved were now free. The announcement was more than two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. is a combined effort between the Freedom Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit), Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park (Hilton Head Island), Northwest African American Museum (Seattle), Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater (Miami) and the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis). Through educational content, artistic performances and shareable discussion prompts, this collaborative program will explore the meaning and relevance of freedom, justice and democracy in Black American life, from a historical and contemporary framework. 

“The year 2020 also marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment and the right of Black men to the ballot after the Civil War,” adds Miller. “As we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s an opportunity for us to reflect and act on the continued struggle and intersectionality of justice, freedom and democracy.”

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