Juneteenth Observance: Events and Holiday

Dear Oglethorpe Community: 

For the first time, Oglethorpe will recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as an official university holiday. A combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth” the holiday commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth celebrations occur throughout the United States. It is the oldest and most popular celebration of emancipation in the country. 

Many colleges and universities are engaging with students, staff, and faculty around Juneteenth through educational programs and paid days off. Juneteenth received renewed attention in light of social protests following the death of George Floyd, but the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday has been active in the U.S. since the 1980s. More than a recognition of the past, the holiday amplifies ongoing movements against systemic oppression and our need to collectively commit to social justice and anti-racism. 

Because Juneteenth occurs on a Saturday this year, the university observance will take place Friday, June 18th

Thank you to the members of the DEI Task Force for proposing this holiday and advancing the conversation about this important observance within the OU community. Oglethorpe University is proud to recognize Juneteenth, and we encourage everyone to celebrate the beauty and resilience of Black culture and history. 

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the DEI Task Force, and OU Programming Board invite you to join in a community recognition of Juneteenth through the following events. Check OU Connect for event details and links.

Wednesday, June 16

Artist Talk featuring Shinobi.Dreams (Kitara Ramsess) – 10 a.m.

OU student leaders commissioned this Atlanta-based, mixed-media artist to produce a mural on Oglethorpe’s campus. Join us to learn about Kitara’s artistic practice and his original piece that will debut at OU later this year.

To learn more about Kitara, read his interview with VoyageATL.

Soul Food Lunch at Conant Performing Arts Center – Noon-1:30 p.m.

Join members of the OU community for conversation and a delicious meal served on the Conant veranda. Lunch is open all OU students, staff, and faculty. Registration is not required.  *Oglethorpe is currently operating in Covid Protection Phase: Yellow. Masks are required unless eating, drinking, or exercising. Check the OU Covid-19 Communications page for more info.

Thursday, June 17

Historian Dr. Holly Pinheiro Jr. on the Importance of Juneteenth – 1 p.m.

Dr. Holly Pinheiro, Jr will join us to discuss the importance of Juneteenth and the impact of emancipation on Black families and military servicepeople. Dr. Pinheiro is currently an Assistant Professor at Augusta University in the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy. His book, The Families’ Civil War: Northern African American Soldiers and the Fight for Racial Justice, is forthcoming from The University of Georgia Press in the UnCivil Wars Series.

All-day screening of The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) 

The OU Programming Board is providing all-day streaming access to the Last Black Man in San Francisco. This widely acclaimed film, which debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, follows the efforts of a young Black man to reclaim his childhood home, a now-expensive Victorian house in a gentrified neighborhood of San Francisco. Visit OU Connect for streaming details.  

Friday, June 18

*University Holiday* 

Enjoy the holiday and be sure to participate in the Atlanta Juneteenth celebration (June 18-20), which includes a musical festival and parade in Centennial Olympic Park. To learn more visit www.juneteenthatl.com 

Be sure to follow the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on Instagram (@oglethorpe_dei) for resources and to learn about more DEI events for June! 

-Dr. Laura Reneé Chandler, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion