Juneteenth celebration highlights Black accomplishments at the University

By Ashley A. Williams

Juneteenth celebration highlights Black accomplishments at the University

By Ashley A. Williams
The University of Miami Black Alumni Society hosts its annual commemoration on Friday, June 17, which will feature a simultaneous in-person/virtual campus tour of recent installations that celebrate the contributions of Black University members.

From the historic designation of the Harold Long, Jr. and H.T. Smith Student Services Building to the launch of the Center for Global Black Studies to the installation of the interactive Taylor Family/UTrailblazers Experience exhibit that showcases the history of Black students, the University of Miami has a lot to celebrate this Juneteenth. 

On Friday, June 17, the University of Miami Black Alumni Society (UMBAS) will host its annual Juneteenth celebration as it highlights the achievements and honors the impact of Black students and alumni. This year’s event features a campus tour that will take place both in person and remotely. 

“We look forward to hosting students, alumni, faculty, and staff for another year of celebration in support of our independence,” said Patricia Morgan, outgoing UMBAS president. “This is yet another chance for us to share our success and inspire our fellow ’Canes as we interact and celebrate Black history.” 

Now an official federal holiday, Juneteenth will be observed on Monday, June 20. Juneteenth marks the day—June 19, 1865—more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect that Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved people that they were free and the war was over. 

Astin Hayes, the newly elected UMBAS president who is set to begin her two-year term soon, said she is elated with the progress the University has made in recent years and looks forward to all that is to come. 

“It makes me feel proud because none of this was here when I was a student, so I can physically see where the progress is from the University,” said Hayes. “Even though things take time, and this is an ongoing journey, it is great to see how far we have come,” she added. 

“I want to continue building the programming that we have put in place as far as Giving Day,” said Hayes, who begins her new role in the fall. “We are also looking to continue supporting our alums who own businesses and pushing them into new spaces. And we also look to continuing to support the University of Miami and its many initiatives.” 

Established in 1989, UMBAS, an official affiliate group of the University, has celebrated Juneteenth since 2019. The mission of the group is to facilitate a comprehensive network among Black University alumni, faculty, staff, students, and family to advance the interests and needs of the University community.

Register to attend the event.