Celebrating Juneteenth and Black Freedom in the US with Courtney Pierre Joseph

Celebrating Juneteenth and Black Freedom in the US with Courtney Pierre Joseph


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While many people think that slavery in the US ended with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, the institution of slavery officially ended 2 years later. On June 19, 1865, several months after the Civil War ended, Union soldiers informed enslaved people in Texas that they were free, hence Juneteenth. How did this happen? Why were they not alerted sooner? And when did Juneteenth become an official day of celebration?

This seminar will look at the layered history of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, or Emancipation Day. While Black people have been celebrating this holiday since the late 1800s, it became an official state holiday in Texas in 1980. Since the "racial awakening" seen in summer 2020, there are growing calls for June 19th to become a federally observed national holiday. 

Led by a professor of History & African American Studies, this seminar will engage with this recent history as well as contextualize the history of white supremacy terrorism in the United States. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased ability to recognize and understand why perhaps June 19th and not July 4th should be observed as American Independence Day. 

Courtney Pierre Joseph is an Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies at Lake Forest College. Her specializations are in African American history and culture, Haiti and its diaspora, women and gender studies, and hip hop culture. Joseph earned her PhD in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2017. She has spoken at numerous institutions, including the DuSable Museum of African American History, and at various events, including the fall 2020 Chicago Humanities Festival. Dr. Joseph is currently working on her first book, tentatively titled DuSable’s Diaspora: Haiti, Blackness, and Belonging in Chicago.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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Lydia Lee (Redmond, US)
A must for cultural literacy and modern societal interaction.

I greatly appreciate the time and research Ms. Joseph presented in this seminar. She was able to explain Juneteenth in a way for the uninitiated (me) to understand and for the non-Black listener (me) to accept the challenges, hardships, suffering, prejudice, whitewashing, and history of the US Black community. White denial was presented in a manner that was thoughtful and unflinching, without leaving me feeling offended in my desire to learn more. An excellent opportunity to learn more from someone who experiences prejudice in a way that fills some of the educational gaps that are part of the non-Black educational and societal aspects of the US. Happy Juneteenth! What took us so long to get here?

S
Suzette Shelmire (Oxford, US)
Juneteenth

I enjoyed Dr. Joseph's "conversation very much. Having grown up in Texas I knew the history and all my "growing up" years I enjoyed the celebration. I have been surprised to note how many African Americans here in Oxford, MS didn't know its importance or really knew of its existance until recently.. I think her talk informative and she's right - history has been lacking when it comes to our racial issues.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
100%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
L
Lydia Lee (Redmond, US)
A must for cultural literacy and modern societal interaction.

I greatly appreciate the time and research Ms. Joseph presented in this seminar. She was able to explain Juneteenth in a way for the uninitiated (me) to understand and for the non-Black listener (me) to accept the challenges, hardships, suffering, prejudice, whitewashing, and history of the US Black community. White denial was presented in a manner that was thoughtful and unflinching, without leaving me feeling offended in my desire to learn more. An excellent opportunity to learn more from someone who experiences prejudice in a way that fills some of the educational gaps that are part of the non-Black educational and societal aspects of the US. Happy Juneteenth! What took us so long to get here?

S
Suzette Shelmire (Oxford, US)
Juneteenth

I enjoyed Dr. Joseph's "conversation very much. Having grown up in Texas I knew the history and all my "growing up" years I enjoyed the celebration. I have been surprised to note how many African Americans here in Oxford, MS didn't know its importance or really knew of its existance until recently.. I think her talk informative and she's right - history has been lacking when it comes to our racial issues.