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“Then, thenceforward, and forever free”

These words, issued on January 1, 1863 in the Emancipation Proclamation, were finally heard by the enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865. Join the Harvard community in celebrating and exploring the history of Juneteenth.

The Juneteenth flag was created in 1977 by Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, and illustrator Lisa Jeanna Graf.

What does Juneteenth mean to you?

Join the Harvard community in sharing your thoughts on Juneteenth.

I am excited about the thickening archive of stories that depict how African Americans inhabited and commemorated their freedom."

Todne Thomas

Associate Professor of African American Religions at Harvard Divinity School; Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Todne Thomas
It should always be a day we all reflect on our journey to become a more just and fair society—in every way."

Tommy Amaker

Head coach, Harvard Basketball

Tommy Amaker
We’re not celebrating the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, but … the change in the material conditions of folks on the ground."

Jeraul Mackey

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Ph.D. student; member of the W.E.B. Du Bois Graduate Society Steering Committee

Jeraul Mackey
I now view Juneteenth as the true Independence Day, because that was the day when all Americans got their freedom."

Samantha O’Sullivan

Class of 2022 alum; co-founder of the Generational African American Student Association

Samantha O’Sullivan
Holidays like Juneteenth exist not only to celebrate how far we have come but to also demonstrate that we still have a long way to go."

Opeoluwa Falako

Class of 2022 alum; former president of the Harvard Black Students Association

Opeoluwa Falako

Working toward a world without slavery

Slavery, forced labor, and human trafficking are global problems that the Harvard community is working to end forever.


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