UNCG holds inaugural Juneteenth celebration

Posted on June 22, 2021

Woman speaks at microphone with paper in her hand
Professor Christina Yongue delivers welcome remarks at the Juneteenth celebration.
Woman speaks at microphone with paper in her hand
Professor Christina Yongue delivers welcome remarks at the Juneteenth celebration.

UNC Greensboro held its inaugural Juneteenth celebration on Monday, June 21, at the Elliott University Center on campus. 

More than 150 students, faculty, and staff attended the event, which was co-sponsored by the UNCG Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Student Government Association, Graduate Student Association, Chancellor’s Office, and Provost’s Office. 

The movement to recognize Juneteenth at UNCG was initiated and led by students, and supported by both faculty and staff. Monday’s event included performances by the UNCG Jazz Quartet, poetry by Josephus Thompson, and readings from the book “On Juneteenth.” Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this event was open only to the UNCG campus community. 

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865. The day is also known as Black Independence Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Jubilee Day. Last week, President Joe Biden signed legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. 

“More than a day of remembrance, Juneteenth is a symbol, a landmark day for our country, and for our evolution as a society,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. “For our campus, the day was an opportunity for us to come together for fellowship, conversation, community, and most importantly, for listening. To be a positive force for change, we must do something. I am encouraged by the unprecedented collaboration to make the event special and meaningful for all Spartans. My hope is that this is the first of many such celebrations in the years to come.”

By celebrating Juneteenth as a campus community, UNCG acknowledges the contributions of Black enslaved persons and their struggle for freedom as an integral part of the American story. The University also affirms its values of equity, diversity, and inclusion and its commitment to address racial inequities for a more just, equitable, and prosperous future for all. Visit racialequity.uncg.edu to learn more about UNCG’s commitment to racial equity, as well as resources for learning, news, and upcoming events.

Man speaks at microphone while woman looks on in the background
Josephus Thompson performs original poetry.
Jazz band performing at event indoors
The UNCG Jazz Quartet performs at the inaugural Juneteenth celebration.
Masked event attendees listen to remarks
Attendees enjoy readings and performances.

Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications


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