Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday is recognized on June 19, in acknowledgment of the same date in 1865 when Texas became the last state to receive the news that the Confederacy had surrendered in the Civil War (two months prior).
Lafayette College will celebrate Juneteenth on campus and through a series of events held in the Lehigh Valley. During a Juneteenth Celebration June 16 at the Williams Center organized by members of the campus-wide DEI Committee, Prof. Aaron Pride will share a history of Juneteenth, and students will read the Emancipation Proclamation.
A gallery tour will follow, led by artist Shawn Beeks, whose exhibit Rinse & Repeat: Shawn Beeks Draws from the Goodman Collection is currently on display in the Williams Center Gallery.
“Beeks contemplates upon photos taken during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and ‘60s and draws connections with recent activism for racial justice,” says Rico Reyes, director of galleries and curator of collections for Lafayette College. “The work reminds us of ways that history repeats itself, and how we have to continuously fight for freedom and democracy. Juneteenth as a federal holiday reminds us of the past, but also encourages us to work for a more just future.”
The College also is participating as a sponsor of JuneteenthLV, which spans the three cities of the Lehigh Valley and offers more than a dozen events occurring June 11-19, including the Lehigh Valley’s first Juneteenth parade to be held noon to 3 p.m. June 19 in Easton. Representatives from Lafayette College will have a table at JuneteenthLV’s music festival June 17 at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem.
“I’m thrilled that our community will be active participants in this year’s Juneteenth celebrations both on campus and here in the Lehigh Valley,” President Nicole Hurd says. “It’s such an important day of remembrance, I hope we can build on this tradition of collaboration between the campus and local community in the years ahead.”