Juneteenth celebrations

Celebrating Juneteenth

By Ashley A. Williams

Celebrating Juneteenth

By Ashley A. Williams
The University of Miami Black Alumni Society is hosting a number of Juneteenth events around the country to honor the momentous day of freedom and significance in the lives of African-Americans.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the date—June 19, 1865—when a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, received news that they were free—more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states, including Florida, Juneteenth more generally observes the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederates States.

Across the United States, Juneteenth celebrations range from festivals and parades to readings of the proclamation by General Gordon Granger. Gatherings are used as a time to reflect and rejoice.

Last week, University of Miami Black Alumni Society (UMBAS) organizers in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. hosted events to raise awareness and fellowship with fellow ’Canes. The growing popularity of the holiday allows for people of all races, nationalities, and religions to join hands and acknowledge this period of history.

Nancy Wilson Young, a member of the UMBAS, will host an event at the restored Historic Hampton House in Miami’s Brownsville on June 29. Hampton House was a meeting place for some of the world’s most influential entertainers, athletes, and civil rights advocates from the 1950s through the 1970s.

“We need to pay homage as the University of Miami continues its inclusion nationally and internationally," said Young, who in 1970 received her master’s degree in education from UM. “Lest we forget not, as we stand on the shoulders of our brave ancestors.”

Wendy Dixon-Dubois, president of UMBAS, graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University in 2006. She currently resides outside of Washington, D.C. and saw Juneteenth as an opportunity to coordinate uniformed events across the country for the first time ever.

“Juneteenth is a time to reconnect, a bit of a sankofa moment of looking back and looking ahead,” Dixon-Dubois, who served as president of the United Black Students organization as an undergraduate, said using the Ghana word representing reflection and a quest for knowledge. “Juneteenth, to me, is a time to unite with peers, family, and friends and to celebrate our successes. I think this speaks to how UM, as a whole, has engrained in all of us the importance of celebrating diversity—and this is one of those moments."

Here’s a look at upcoming UMBAS events that will observe Juneteenth:


Date: June 19, 2019
Lead Contact: Trish Morgan (Patricia.dunac@gmail.com)
Location: National Center for Civil and Human Rights,100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, GA
Time: 7 - 8 p.m., happy hour begins at 5:30 p.m. at Café Circa
Register here


Date: June 29, 2019
Lead Contact: Nancy Wilson Young (nwyoung@yahoo.com)
Location: Historic Hampton House, 4240 Northwest 27th Avenue, Miami, FL 33142
Time: 12 – 2 p.m.
Register here

New York

Date: June 29, 2019
Lead Contact: Camille Cohen (cfcohen84@gmail.com) and Deon LeCointe (dlecointe@gmail.com)
Location: Schomburg Center (Literary Festival: Reading the African Diaspora), 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037
Time: 1 p.m. brunch
Register here