On Sunday, June 13, 2010, Randolph-Macon College will present “Juneteenth on the
Thirteenth: Stories and Tales under the Baobab Tree in Many Tongues with Many Voices.”
The event is a celebration in honor of the day the last slaves were freed in the
United States by the Emancipation Proclamation. “Juneteenth” will begin at 5:30
p.m. in Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC Center for the Performing Arts. This event
is free and open to the public.
History of Juneteenth
Juneteenth began in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. It was on that day that the
slaves in Galveston learned they were free by order of the Emancipation Proclamation,
which became effective on January 1, 1863. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon
Granger landed in Galveston, Texas with Union soldiers bringing news that the Civil
War had ended and that all slaves were free. Beginning in Texas as a state holiday,
Juneteenth is now recognized officially in almost forty states. Many people use
the occasion to gather with family and friends and church members to commemorate
a past that involved struggle and to proclaim a future that promises redemption
R-MC’s Juneteenth Program
R-MC’s Juneteenth event will begin with Afro-Inuit (Eskimo) music and a slide show.
The Master of Ceremony, R-MC Professor Alphine W. Jefferson, will then host a series
of dramatizations, poems, proclamations, readings and songs in languages ranging
from Arabic and Hebrew to Kiswahili, Portuguese and Spanish. “This multilingual
program celebrates the reality that many of the Africans brought to the Americas
were only ‘slaves’ here,” says Jefferson. “Before their capture, branding and endurance
of the Middle Passage, they were human beings with many different kinds of lives
and they practiced many different religions and spoke many different languages.
This particular Juneteenth celebration pays homage to their many voices, which are
now both forgotten and silent.”
The program, which concludes at 7:00 p.m., will be followed by a reception.
The event is sponsored by the following Randolph-Macon College organizations: Black
Studies, Student Activities, Summer School and Brothers for Change. It is also sponsored
by the Hanover County Black Heritage Society. The event is produced by Alphine Jefferson
and Deborah Hillmer O’Dell. For more information, contact the Director of the
Juneteenth celebration, Melissa Mowry ’11, at