On Thursday, June 17 at 8pm ET | 5pm PT ASALH & PBS Books presented a special commemoration virtual event, “Juneteenth: Lift Every Voice and Sing,” produced by BLKFREEDOM.org, a collaboration of 10 African American historical and cultural museums across the country. It celebrates the emancipation of the enslaved people of Texas in 1865 and the liberty and victory of African American communities nationwide ever since.
This is the second annual Juneteenth event by this collaboration, and last year’s received strong support from PBS affiliates around the country.
For a second year, a national network of 10 leading Black museums and historical institutions have joined forces in an annual collaboration called BLKFREEDOM.org, which has created a presentation to commemorate Juneteenth, the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was officially enforced, ending enslavement in Texas.
This year’s film documents a national exploration of the deep-rooted anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” through the eyes of historic nationwide museums and anthropologists. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, a member of the collaboration, is partnering with PBS Books to make this special event available to libraries, PBS affiliates and others across the nation through their associated Facebook pages and websites.
Juneteenth dates to June 19, 1865, when union soldier, Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This announcement was more than two and half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Each of the participating museums has contributed a segment to the film, selecting a theme from the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Among the topics explored are 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 during the COVID Era.
Additional performances will feature the African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE), West African Dance and poetry. There will also be readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteen through Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed after the Civil War to abolish slavery and grant equal rights to all citizens, including newly freed enslaved Americans.