Juneteenth Celebration to Commemorate Day That Defined Freedom

Juneteenth at UT Dallas

From left: UT Dallas students Alexis Moreno, Triza Nganga and Dapo Ogunfeitimi attended last year's Juneteenth celebration.

UT Dallas will celebrate Juneteenth on Friday with an event featuring barbecue, live music, carnival games, a health fair and a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The event, scheduled at 5 p.m., will be in the atrium of the Visitor Center and University Bookstore after weather concerns led organizers to move the event from the Student Union Plinth. Winners of the Juneteenth annual staff bakeoff also will be announced.

“Juneteenth is a celebration for everyone,” said Arthur Gregg, assistant vice president for multicultural affairs and director of the Multicultural Center. “We encourage students, faculty and staff to join us on Friday for a fun event to honor and learn about this important date in history.”

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought news to Texas that slaves were free — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The holiday is a time to celebrate and reflect on the significance of freedom, said Dr. Kimberly Hill, visiting assistant professor in the School of Arts and Humanities, who teaches African-American history at UT Dallas. For African-Americans in Texas in 1865, freedom meant the ability to choose where they would live and work, and to find and reconnect with family members.

“Newly freed people — they were thinking about maximizing their opportunities,” Hill said. “The real heart of the Emancipation Proclamation is how people live it out, and we see that in Juneteenth.”

The event is presented by the Multicultural Center, which provides cultural programs, educational resources, leadership opportunities and support services to help students succeed.

Co-sponsors include the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, Office of Administration, Student Union & Activities Advisory Board, the Eugene McDermott Library, UT Dallas Police Department, Student Union, Student Wellness Center, Student Success Center, Student Organization Center, Environmental Health and Safety, Student Health Center, Student Counseling Center and Residential Life.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].