Design: Ashley Odom, @omazingoccasions

On Friday, June 19, 2020, BRIC will present Juneteenth: Then and Now | A Virtual #BHeard Town Hall. This moderated panel discussion and forum will examine the state of freedom in Black communities as they grapple with COVID-19, benign neglect, and state-sanctioned violence. provides an informative recounting of this significant day: “Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on enslaved Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee in April 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.” -

The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth,” commemorating the liberation of enslaved Africans in America and was a source of motivation to persevere. Juneteenth was initially celebrated primarily among African-American communities in Texas, but with the Great Migration of the 20th century and later the Poor People's March on Washington, came an increase in awareness and observance of this day across the country.

Over time, notable events, contributions, and experiences of African-Americans were nearly forgotten due to a tendency to omit these stories from U.S. history textbooks and curriculum taught in schools. Juneteenth is among the numerous lesser-known narratives that are resurfacing after years of existing in the margins of society, such as Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street and New York’s Seneca Village.

Today, as the Movement for Black Lives continues to gain momentum and affect change, Juneteenth has attained mainstream recognition as the official end of slavery in America. It is imperative that the stories of Black Americans be acknowledged, preserved, and celebrated at the level of validity that they deserve.

Black history is American history.

Learn more about Juneteenth from this educational video by The Root.

We invite you to join us on Friday, June 19 at 7PM for our presentation of Juneteenth: Then and Now | A Virtual #BHeard Town Hall to continue the conversation around Black history, achievement, and racial equality.