“Juneteenth marks the last of America’s enslaved being freed from the institution of chattel slavery,” says Chris Miller, senior director of education & community engagement for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “We celebrate Juneteenth as a reminder of the triumph and dignity of the human spirit through the lens of the African American experience.”
Along with the Freedom Center, those featured in BLKFREEDOM.org’s video presentation are Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first African American and first historian to serve as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist, educator, museum director and the first female African American president of Spelman College; and the Honorable Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library.
The launch of BLKFREEDOM.org will commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread, emancipation did not come until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Grander landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended. He issued General Order No. 3, announcing the enslaved were now free. The announcement was more than two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
BLKFREEDOM.org is a combined effort between the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit, MI), Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park (Hilton Head Island, SC), Northwest African American Museum (Seattle, WA), Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater (Miami, FL) and the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, TN). Through educational content, artistic performances and shareable discussion prompts, this collaborative program will explore the meaning and relevance of freedom, justice and democracy in Black American life, from a historical and contemporary framework. “The year 2020 also marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment and the right of Black men to the ballot after the Civil War,” adds Chris Miller. “As we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s an opportunity for us to reflect and act on the continued struggle and intersectionality of justice, freedom and democracy.”
To learn more and subscribe for updates, visit BLKFREEDOM.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD FREEDOM CENTER
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.