Dear Wright State Community,
Monday, June 20, our university will be closed in observance of the federal holiday Juneteenth. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day is the oldest national commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. For members of the Black community, it is a day of joy and of pain, and continues to be an important moment for national engagement.
Juneteenth commemorates the freeing of enslaved Africans in America on June 19, 1865, when in Texas they learned that the Civil War had ended and they had earned their freedom. It is not lost on many that those who were enslaved received their freedom nearly two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The day was a milestone in the long and arduous journey African Americans have taken toward equality and justice. As we see today, there is still a long road toward realizing Black freedom in the United States.
To celebrate and recognize Juneteenth, Wright State’s Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center has organized “A Presentation of ‘On Juneteenth’: Exploring the Events Surrounding this Date in History and the Aftermath in Texas.” The event will be held virtually Tuesday, June 21, from 3 to 4:15 p.m. All students, faculty, staff, and alumni are welcome to attend the WebEx presentation and group discussion at the following link:
Led by Bolinga Center Intercultural Specialist Quatez Scott, Ph.D., the presentation will guide participants through observations and context from Annette Gordon-Reed’s “On Juneteenth,” which provides a historian’s view of our country’s long road to Juneteenth. The book recounts both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction, through Jim Crow and beyond.
Those interested in receiving a free electronic version of the book may contact Dr. Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The significance of Juneteenth continues to grow as our nation continues to strive toward racial justice and equality. Wright State University remains committed to creating and sustaining a welcoming campus for all. Through our collective efforts we can build a more inclusive community that supports diversity, accessibility, and equity.
I encourage everyone in the Wright State community to learn more about the history of Juneteenth, find ways to effect the changes you want to see in your communities, and engage in ways that lead to dismantling structural and overt racism and other forms of discrimination on our campus, in our communities, and in our country.
Matthew Chaney, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence