Eastern Michigan University celebrates Juneteenth with a host of awareness events

Eastern Michigan University celebrates Juneteenth with a host of awareness events

YPSILANTI – To help broaden the understanding of the African American experience and celebrate past and present accomplishments, Eastern Michigan University professors are hosting various Juneteenth events.

According to History.com, Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. Although the troops' arrival came years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States. On June 17, 2021, it officially became a federal holiday. 

Part-time lecturers Micala Evans and Imelda Hunt of EMU’s Department of Africology and African American Studies (AAAS) have curated a Juneteenth Awareness Tour in three communities, with a presentation to engage community members in the newly recognized federal holiday. 

“We want everyone to understand that this holiday is because freedom did not come to all enslaved persons at the same time nor with the stroke of President Lincoln’s pen,” said Hunt.

The lectures addressed their presentation Curators of our Art: A Juneteenth Celebration and will present at the following Juneteenth community events: June 9, at the Plymouth District Library from 7 - 8 p.m., and June 15 at the Way Public Library in Perrysburg, OH. Community members are invited to celebrate Juneteenth with discussion and a presentation about Juneteenth’s history and the African American Arts. 

“Freedom had to be taught, and people had to understand then, just as we do now, what freedom means,” said Dr. Evans, who also founded Idlewild Juneteenth Festival in Idlewild, Michigan, which the pair of professors will both be in attendance this Juneteenth. 

Then on Sunday, June 19, from 6:30 - 7:45 p.m., EMU's Department of Africology and African American Studies will host a Juneteenth commemorative lecture via Zoom. Mark Fancher, staff attorney for ACLU's Racial Justice Project, is the special guest speaker. The lecture is open to the public. For Zoom details, visit the web page.

Additionally, Toni Pressley-Sanon, associate professor of AAAS is scheduled to conduct an educational activity as part of the college’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 20, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. behind Puffer Reds, located at 113 W. Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti, Mich. Pressley-Sanon will promote enrollment to students interested in AAAS, along with detailing her semester-long course, Global Dimensions of Racism, which focuses on making connections between Africa and the diaspora.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 15,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up-to-date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

June 07, 2022

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher