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The National Museum of African American History and Culture recently announced a variety of new events planned for the celebration of Juneteenth this year.
In a press release, the museum announced that the events will revolve around the theme of “Senses of Freedom: Exploring the Tastes, Sounds and Experiences of an African American Celebration.” With the events beginning on June 2 and lasting up until June 18, the Juneteenth celebrations include an Afrofuturism concert featuring musician Dawn Richard, the screening of the “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project” documentary about the poet and a showcase of documentaries made by up-and-coming student filmmakers.
The NMAAHC will also hold an event dedicated to discussing Juneteenth and a special edition of their A Seat at the Table program; moderated by Julianne Malveaux, the program will discuss modern farming techniques in comparison to the practices of scientist George Washington Carver and will support Black cultivators and businesses with a special dinner.
The series of events will also spotlight Black music with the “Historically Speaking: Musical Crossroads: Stories Behind the Objects of African American Music.”Curated by Dwandalyn R. Reece, the event will feature live music along with a discussion on how objects have helped shape Black music.
“Juneteenth is a moment of liberation and jubilation, but it is also a moment where we lament,” said the museum’s deputy director, Michelle D. Commander, per the press release. “Yet, the resilience of the Black community abounds, continuing to make a way out of no way, overcoming trials and celebrating triumphs while honoring the place and price of freedom.”
This year’s celebration marks the second anniversary of the official announcement that Juneteenth will be celebrated as a federal holiday; last year, the holiday was officially recognized by the federal government, although Juneteenth’s history extends back centuries.
The holiday officially commemorates the end of enslavement in the U.S. Juneteenth specifically refers to the date of June 19, 1865, when the Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to inform the enslaved people living there that they were free. The announcement came two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after what was considered the end of the Civil War.
“Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day,” said the National Museum of African American History and Culture per an official release. “The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of never giving up hope in uncertain times.”