HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — In honor of Juneteenth’s 155th anniversary, a group of black historical institutions has collaborated to create a unique digital commemoration.
Hilton Head Island-based Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, a preservation of the first self-governed community of formerly enslaved people in the United States, is among the six sites and museums that launched BLKFREEDOM.org on Friday, June 19.
The website features an original video presentation commemorating the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was officially enforced, thus ending enslavement of black people in Texas.
“For those people who are just learning about Juneteenth for the first time, welcome!” Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park’s executive director, Ahmad Ward, told WSAV.com NOW. “We appreciate you, and make sure that you celebrate Juneteenth every year, because we do feel it is a perfect time to celebrate freedom for all people, no matter what background they come from.”
The BLKFREEDOM.org program features appearances from:
- Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first African American and first historian to serve as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
- Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist, educator, museum director, and the first female African American president of Spelman College
- The Honorable Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library
Through spoken word, music, dance and acting performances as well as scholarly discussions, organizers say the presentation explores “the meaning and relevance of ‘freedom,’ ‘justice’ and ‘democracy’ in Black American life, from a historical and contemporary framework.”
BLKFREEDOM.org is a combined effort between Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park; Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; Northwest African American Museum; Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater; National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; and the National Civil Rights Museum.