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The Department of Africana Studies celebrates Juneteenth, the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Although there are many historic moments of emancipation — including, importantly, the enduring self-emancipation and liberation of Africans and their descendants — Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day the Union officer General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Confederacy had surrendered and lost the war. Though the enslaved in Texas (and everywhere) were already unquantifiably mindful that the stakes of the war meant bondage or liberty, just as they were already aware that the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued two years prior, this announcement effectively formalized the abolition of slavery in the westernmost states. From this, Black people continue to derive strength, courage, pride and resilience, even as we reach into this historic day to offer the continuing critique that emancipation has not guaranteed our freedom.
This year, at the Delaware Juneteenth Association's 28th annual Juneteenth Freedom Festival, Professor Kathryn Benjamin Golden, AFRA graduate students Kayla Heard and Chad Graham, and AFRA undergraduate student Razan Abdullah presented "Black Women and Freedom Struggle: Celebrating Juneteenth" with the greater Wilmington community. The students spoke to how Africana Studies creates and recreates the space to think, write and speak of the untiring labor of Black women who have always worked toward total and permanent freedom. In addition to sharing these reflections and the importance of Africana Studies, Professor Golden and the students distributed student-made bookmarks and raffled three books written by Africana faculty — all themed around Black women's historical experiences and liberatory labor.
For more information about the Delaware Juneteenth Association, visit the Delaware Juneteenth Association website.
For more on Juneteenth, listen to UD's Undeniably Well podcast featuring Professor Golden, made possible by the office of Employee Health and Wellbeing.
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