CMU Honors Juneteenth
Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:
Each year on June 19, we celebrate the freedom of African Americans from slavery in the United States. Juneteenth (a combination of the words "June" and "nineteenth") marks the date in 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army informed the last remaining group of slaves in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished.
How significant that I am writing to you about this historic day via email, with readers around the world receiving this message instantly, when it took General Granger over two years to deliver this information to more than 250,000 enslaved people in Texas.
For me, Juneteenth is not just about the Emancipation Proclamation — the history of this day allows us to honor the work the African American enslaved people made happen through resilience, courage and sacrifice. CMU honors Juneteenth as a day to allow our community to take part in the important work of engaging in local discussions about injustice and, most importantly, to work toward actively dismantling racism and other forms of oppression.
Juneteenth also brings an opportunity to celebrate Black culture as well as explore ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. To honor this meaningful day of emancipation, I would like to invite you to join us for a virtual event on June 17 from 4 -5 p.m. to kick off a weekend of engagement in Pittsburgh. CMU will host a panel discussion titled Juneteenth: Its Meaning, Significance and Why We Should Celebrate It.
Presenting panelists include Joe Trotter, CMU, Giant Eagle University Professor of History and Social Justice; Laurence Glasco, Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh with a research focus on the history of Black Pittsburgh; Margaret Washington, Professor of American History at Cornell University with specialties in African American history and culture, African American women, and Southern history; and Edward Baptist, Professor of History at Cornell University with a focus on the 19th Century United States and the history of enslavement of African Americans. Tony Norman, award-winning columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, will moderate the discussion.
I am looking forward to my first Juneteenth celebration in Pittsburgh in my role as inaugural Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for CMU.
Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion / Chief Diversity Officer
Distinguished Service Professor
Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy