A celebration of freedom

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UM Black Alumni Society celebrates Juneteenth

Juneteenth Independence Day is a holiday commemorating the effective end of slavery in the United States. More specifically, June 19, 1865, marks the day that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas heralding the news that the war had ended and that the more than 250,000 enslaved people were indeed now free. Although the news was shared more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, it ushered in a new way of life for many.

In celebration of this momentous day of freedom in African-American history, the UM Black Alumni Society (UMBAS) leadership organized a series of cultural events throughout the month of June.

Dozens of alumni, family and friends participated in educational events and informal gatherings in six cities. They included visits to cultural museums and landmarks such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, the DuSable Museum in Chicago, the Schromburg Center in New York City and the Historic Hampton House in Miami.

Dionne Richards, B.B.A. ’05, Fundraising Chair & Treasurer for the UM Black Alumni Society, spearheaded the effort and organized a visit to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. “The Juneteenth celebrations are a great way for us to continuously celebrate our legacies and bring more awareness to our communities,” she said.

In addition to celebrating African-American heritage, the events provided an opportunity for alumni to build long lasting relationships while bridging generational gaps and raising awareness about the work of the University of Miami Black Alumni Society. 

For Gwendolyn Dixon, A.B. ‘84, it wasn’t the first time visiting the Historic Hampton House in Miami, but it was her first time learning about its history and significance. “This has been an amazing eye-opening experience,” she said. “I love history, and this made me feel a part of history.”

To see pictures from the 2019 UM Juneteenth Celebrations, click here.

To learn more about ways to connect with the UM Black Alumni Society, please email umbas@miami.edu or visit our website.