UNCG Honors Juneteenth with Reflection Through the Arts

Posted on June 12, 2024

Featured Image for UNCG Honors Juneteenth with Reflection Through the Arts

UNC Greensboro demonstrates its enduring community leadership in creative expression and in civil rights with an event honoring Juneteenth. On Wednesday, June 19, the campus and surrounding community were invited to attend “Echoes of Freedom: Celebrating Juneteenth Through the Arts” in the courtyard of the Weatherspoon Art Museum.  

The Art of Equality 

This year, UNCG’s Juneteenth planning committee was inspired to assemble artists to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, educate the public about the history of the day, and reflect on our journey towards equality.  

Spoken word performance poet, Josephus Thompson III headlined the event. Thompson was named Greensboro’s first Poet Laureate in 2023 and serves as an activist, lecturer, teacher, and author.  

Joining Thompson were UNCG poet D. Noble, Bennett College’s Poet Laurette Jasmine Faison, and local youth poet Kingzton Tacorie. Their work was featured alongside musicians like drummer Isaac Cousar, vocalist Jade Spratling, and Christian hip-hop artist Kayo Bracey. The celebration will also included a West African drum and dance performance.  

Graphic for Echoes of Freedom listing event details over green, yellow and red background and clip art of an African Woman's profile with head wrap and hoop earrings.

Be Inspired 

Observing Juneteenth through the arts is a natural choice for a university that takes pride in the educational and artistic opportunities it provides to its students and the surrounding community. 

“We are thrilled to host ‘Echoes of Freedom: Celebrating Juneteenth Through the Arts’ at UNCG,” said Dr. Channelle James, lecturer at the Bryan School of Business and Economics and Juneteenth event organizer. “This event is a meaningful opportunity to unite as a community, reflect on our shared history, and celebrate the enduring spirit of freedom through the arts. ‘Juneteenth @ UNCG’ is focused on better understanding of the African American experience in our country. This is our fourth Juneteenth celebration, and we are proud to make this event a UNCG tradition.” 

The showcase of African American artists began at 11:00 A.M. and lasted approximately an hour and a half to encourage the community to take a break in their day to be inspired by art that celebrates freedom, resilience, and progress towards equality.   

A Taste of Freedom 

Although some Black communities have celebrated Juneteenth since 1865 when the final emancipation of slaves was issued in Texas following the American Civil War, the holiday wasn’t federally recognized until 2021. UNCG held its first campus observance of Juneteenth that year and has hosted celebrations like 2023’s Juneteenth walking tour every year since. 

In addition to the Echoes of Freedom arts showcase, UNCG was also a sponsor of the Juneteenth Greensboro event on June 15 and 16. This celebration in downtown Greensboro featured music, art, and food trucks.  

Local artists displayed their works in Sternberger Park on Saturday, June 15 from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Afterward, festival goers sampled tasty treats from over forty Black-owned food trucks at the Black Food Truck Festival from 5:00 to 11:00 P.M. Princess Howell Johnson ’07, founding director of Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet, helped to organize the event which concluded with a gospel interfaith program on Sunday from 2:30 to 5:30 P.M. 

UNCG was proud to host and sponsor Juneteenth events to celebrate the day and educate our community.

Story by Becky Deakins, University Communications. 
Photography by Martin Kane, University Communications.  

4 students in a classroom take notes and engage in discussion.

Learn More About UNCG’s Commitment to Racial Equality.


Share This