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May 22, 2024

MSU kicks off Juneteenth weekend celebrations in East Lansing

Register today to attend the free educational event at the Breslin Center

Preparations are underway for the fourth annual Michigan State University Juneteenth Commemorative Celebration on Friday, June 14. Juneteenth is a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas.

The campus and local community are invited to attend this family-friendly event, themed “Acknowledging the Journey: Freedom, Resilience, Empowerment and Liberation.” The event will feature entertainment, vendors, giveaways, a special appearance by Sparty, gospel singing, dancing, an Afrofuturism exhibit and more!

The observance, which will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Breslin Student Events Center, embodies the historical and cultural significance of Juneteenth and allows the university to provide a platform to honor this day of significance in our nation’s history. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and parking and entry are free. 

This year’s program will again be emceed by music educator, violinist and MSU College of Music alum Rodney Page. MSU Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D., will provide brief remarks at the beginning of the program. In addition, Stephanie Anthony, director of the Office of College Access Initiatives and longtime advocate for the Juneteenth campus recognition, will speak on the significance of the commemoration.

The celebration will host culturally enriching opportunities, including the Black Wall Street vendor fair, named after the prosperous Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that will feature local Black businesses. 

Additionally, guests will be able to enjoy free traditional Juneteenth food provided by Kellogg Catering and a locally owned business, Sweet Encounter. 

Musical performances for the evening include Rodney Page, Gregory D and Company, the MSU College of Music Jazz Band and Phoenix Miranda, who will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”  

In a special Afrofuturism exhibit, Professor of English and the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum Julian Chambliss will bring illustrator Tim Fielder’s forthcoming W.E.B. Du Bois-adapted graphic novel, “The Comet,” to the event. Attendees can view large print excerpts from the anticipated fall 2025 book to learn more about Afrofuturism and meet with the author. 

“This year’s Juneteenth celebration coincides with the anniversaries of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marking a momentous occasion,” said Bennett. “Through this event, we celebrate our civil human rights and inspire meaningful conversations that raise awareness and promote greater inclusion.”

Through Project 70/60, Michigan State University facilitates year-long community conversations, like the Juneteenth Commemorative Celebration, in recognition of the 70th and 60th landmark civil and human rights anniversaries that ended school segregation and prohibit discrimination.

Featured 2024 Juneteenth calendar events include:

Visit the MSU Juneteenth Commemorative Celebration to register and learn more about planned events.


By: Henry Mochida

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