Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the United States’ newest federal holiday celebrating Black history. The reality not taught in many history classes today is that despite the Emancipation Proclamation freeing enslaved people in Confederate states on Jan. 1, 1863, it took an additional two and a half years for Black people in Texas to be given freedom, as the proclamation did not apply to border states and other areas within the United States. Juneteenth signifies the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.
Today, citizens know Juneteenth to be the longest-running African-American holiday, and many celebrate it as a way to symbolize freedom. In 2021, President Biden signed a proclamation declaring Juneteenth to be observed as a federal holiday. During his speech, Biden said, “Juneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation and the promise of a greater morning to come.”
When it comes to increasing awareness and education regarding Juneteenth, colleges and universities across the U.S. can play an important role in teaching Black history and culture. Institutes of higher education acknowledging Juneteenth is important — it means students will learn the history of racial injustices, as well as the understand current racial issues seen in our nation. With Juneteenth around the corner, here are some events that schools across the nation have created to celebrate Juneteenth 2023.
- University of Minnesota
On Saturday, June 17, The University of Minnesota (UMD) will be hosting its second annual Juneteenth event, beginning with a march at noon. Throughout the UMD Juneteenth Celebration, there will also be a rose memorial, live performances, Black vendors, art-making, and interactive youth activities.
- University of Central Florida
Known for being one of the largest collegiate institutions in the U.S., the University of Central Florida (UCF) is celebrating Juneteenth in a big way. One way UCF is planning to bring awareness to Juneteenth is through social media — the UCF account will be featuring local Black businesses in Central Florida the entire week before Juneteenth. Additionally, UCF also will be hosting a Juneteenth Celebration open to all UCF faculty, staff, and community members. The event includes special performances, food, and tabling.
- Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) also will be celebrating the importance of Juneteenth through their Juneteenth Networking Mixer & Entrepreneur Showcase on June 16. During this event, individuals can network with Black entrepreneurs, buy from local Black-owned businesses, and enjoy DJ sets.
- Northeastern University
With an afternoon filled with education, empowerment, and fun, Northeastern also will be hosting its very own Juneteenth Celebration to celebrate the history of Black Americans. During this event, Northwestern will host a community panel about Boston’s Black history, and there will be an outdoor celebration including food trucks, student performances, and local performers.
- Augusta Technical College
Augusta Technical College will also be bringing awareness to Juneteenth with their second annual Juneteenth Celebration. Their events start on June 13 with a community service day cleanup. Following the cleanup, they will be hosting a backyard festival on 14, which will bring awareness to various aspects of Black culture. Finally, on June 15, Augusta Technical College will be hosting an Arts and Health Expo.
Ultimately, Juneteenth is a time to celebrate the many accomplishments and achievements Black Americans have made throughout history. By celebrating Juneteenth on college campuses, students and faculty can continue to bring awareness and reflect on the painful, yet beautiful, Black history. Every event counts, and further emphasizes that Black history is American history. Black culture is so significant to what the U.S. is today, and an excellent way to appreciate it is by celebrating on your college campus.