Freedom Center joining national Juneteenth celebration

Press Release

Freedom Center joining national Juneteenth celebration


Cody Hefner, (513) 608-5777,


Freedom Center joining national Juneteenth celebration

Ten organizations partner to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” June 15

CINCINNATI, OH (May 25, 2021) —

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is joining nine museums and historical institutions from across the nation to commemorate Juneteenth through The annual collaboration has produced a film documenting the national exploration of the deep-rooted anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” through the eyes of historic museums and anthropologists from across the United States. The film premieres at noon on June 15. commemorates the moment when, on June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free. The date, now known as Juneteenth, came more than two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Juneteenth is a day of celebration, but it’s not a day of completion. It’s an affirmation that Black people are, and of right out to be, free. And it’s a reminder that we must dedicate ourselves to secure and protect those freedoms,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president & COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “We are proud to partner with our friends across the country to inspire, educate and reexamine what freedom, justice and democracy mean in this country.”

The film will explore the historical influences on the evolution of the Black experience in America using the context of the national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Streaming audiences globally will experience the pride of over 200 years of Gullah culture, the perseverance of Little Africa through Black Laws, tenacity through industry and pop culture in Detroit and resiliency through the COVID era. Additional performances will feature the African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE), West African Dance and poetry.

The Freedom Center partnered with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to explore the meaning of perseverance in the Black experience. The Freedom Center’s portion of the video using African drums, courtesy of the Gyata Afrakan Drum and Dance Theater, a spoken word performance and narration from Freedom Center historian Carl Westmoreland. It tells the story of Little Africa, a thriving free Black community on the banks of the Ohio River in the mid-1800s that endured Black laws that limited their freedoms and race riots that destroyed their homes and businesses. Little Africa was the gateway to freedom for countless freedom seekers escaping slavery. Today, the Freedom Center stands where Little Africa once thrived and continues to be a gateway to freedom. is a combined effort of the Freedom Center, America’s Black Holocaust Museum (Milwaukee), Amistad Research Center of Tulane University (New Orleans), August Wilson African American Cultural Center (Pittsburgh), California African American Museum (Los Angeles), Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit), Harvey Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture (Charlotte), Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park (Hilton Head Island, SC), National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis) and the Northwest African American Museum (Seattle).


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, 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,

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