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Juneteenth at Life University
From the Chief Diversity Officer

Dear Life University Community,

As we approach Juneteenth, a significant day in American history, we invite you to join the annual Life University Juneteenth Celebration! This year’s celebration will be held on Thursday, June 13th, 2024, at 12:30 PM in the Lyceum Dining Hall and Patio.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865, the day when news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Galveston, Texas, marking the end of slavery in the United States. It’s a day of remembrance, reflection, and celebration of African American freedom and resilience.

The Life U Juneteenth Celebration is an opportunity for our campus community to:

  • Learn about the history and significance of Juneteenth.
  • Celebrate the culture and achievements of African Americans.
  • Reflect on the ongoing pursuit of racial equality and social justice.
  • Honor our graduating Black students with a special ceremony acknowledging their accomplishments.

I encourage you to join us for this important event.


Harrison Davis, Jr., Ph.D.
Chief Diversity Officer and Director, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Life University

Life University’s
Juneteenth Celebration

What it is

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a significant holiday in the United States that celebrates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is observed annually on June 19th. The holiday holds special importance within African American communities as it marks a pivotal moment in American history—the end of slavery.

The History

Juneteenth traces its origins to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced General Order No. 3, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas. This event occurred two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery in Confederate states. The delay was due to the limited presence of Union troops to enforce the order. Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery in the United States and the passage of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery nationwide.


Evolution of Celebrations

Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas and spread to other states over the years. Initially, the day was marked by community gatherings, prayer meetings, and the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. During the Civil Rights Movement, Juneteenth gained renewed significance as a symbol of African American freedom and resilience. In 2021, Juneteenth was officially recognized as a federal holiday, acknowledging its importance in American history and culture.

Cultural and Social Significance

Juneteenth holds profound cultural and social significance, particularly within African American communities. It celebrates themes of freedom, resilience, and the contributions of African Americans to society. Juneteenth is a time for reflection on the struggles and achievements of African Americans throughout history. It is also a day for education, cultural expression, and community solidarity.

How it’s celebrated

Juneteenth celebrations are diverse and vibrant, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of African American communities. Common traditions include parades, community gatherings, and educational events. Music, art, and food play central roles in the festivities. Popular activities include barbecues, storytelling, and performances. Notable Juneteenth celebrations occur in various cities across the United States, showcasing the day’s importance nationwide.