Carnegie Mellon University

CMU Juneteenth 2021 Virtual Event

Watch this video from the June 17 event:

Juneteenth: Its Meaning, Significance and Why We Should Celebrate It

In recognition of the monumental importance of Juneteenth (June 19) in our nation’s history, Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant, Carnegie Mellon University's Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, convened a virtual panel discussion to address its meaning, significance and why we should celebrate it.

Dr. Joe William Trotter, Jr., Giant Eagle University Professor of History and Social Justice, Carnegie Mellon University, offered welcoming remarks and Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette award-winning columnist, served as moderator.

Welcoming Remarks

Joe Trotter headshot

Dr. Joe William Trotter, Jr.

Giant Eagle University Professor of History and Social Justice, Carnegie Mellon University

Dr. Joe William Trotter, Jr. is the Giant Eagle University Professor of History and Social Justice and past History Department Chair at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also the Director and Founder of Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) and President Elect of the Urban History Association. His latest publications are Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America (University of California Press, 2019) and Pittsburgh and the Urban League Movement: A Century of Social Service and Activism (University of Kentucky Press, 2020). Professor Trotter received his BA degree from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota. He is currently working on a study of African American urban life since the Atlantic slave trade.

Dr. Trotter teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in African American and U.S. urban, labor, and working class history. He has delivered scholarly papers and lectures in a variety of professional forums in the United States and abroad, including institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands and the Middle East. He has served on the boards and committees of numerous professional organizations: Executive Council, OAH; Chair, Nominating Committee, OAH; OAH Program Committee; Executive Council, SHA; Program Committee, SHA; Francis B. Simkins Prize Committee, SHA; Immigration History Society Executive Board; Jameson Fellowship Committee, AHA; Program Committee, Oral History Association; and chair of the annual Program Committee of the American Historical Association. He has also served as a member and Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the H. John Heinz III Regional History Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate and past President of the Labor and Working Class History Association.


Tony Norman headshot

Tony Norman

Award-winning Columnist, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tony Norman is an award-winning columnist with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Norman began working at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1988, and became a columnist in 1996. He brings depth, breadth and experience in the areas of entertainment, general interest, local, political and cultural reporting. He served on the Post-Gazette’s editorial board from 1999 to 2016.

Norman has won numerous local, state and national journalism awards, including first place in the National Association of Newspaper Columnists and multiple first place Golden Quills, Keystone Awards, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and the Matrix Award from the Association of Women in Communication. He is also the recipient of awards from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Clarion Award.

Since 2001, Norman also has been an adjunct journalism teacher at Chatham University, teaching introductory, intermediate and advanced courses, along with faculty oversight of the student newspaper “The Communique.”

Expert Panelists

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Edward E. Baptist

Professor of History, Cornell University

Ed Baptist grew up in Durham, North Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. At Cornell, he is Professor in the Department of History. With faculty colleagues from four other universities, Baptist leads Freedom on the Move, which is building a crowdsourced database of all North American fugitive slave ads. Currently, Freedom on the Move, along with The Hard History Project, is building instructional resources to support the widespread use of the database for teaching American history to middle and high school students.

Baptist is the author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, (2014) and Creating an Old South: Middle Florida’s Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War (2002), and he also co-edited New Studies in the History of American Slavery with the late Stephanie Camp.

Laurence A. Glasco headshot

Laurence A. Glasco

Associate Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh

Laurence A. Glasco is Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, whose research and teaching focus on the history of Black Pittsburgh. Glasco edited The W.P.A. History of the Negro in Pittsburgh (2004) and co-authored with Christopher Rawson, August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in His Life and Plays (2015).

Currently, he is writing a biography of August Wilson, focusing on his Pittsburgh years, and working on a biography of K. Leroy Irvis, long-time Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Margaret Washington headshot

Margaret Washington

Marie Underhill Noll Professor of American History, Cornell University

Margaret Washington is the Marie Underhill Noll Professor of American History at Cornell University. Her publications include the award winning, “A Peculiar People: Slave Religion and Community Culture among the Gullahs; an edited and annotated publication of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, and a biography entitled, Sojourner Truth’s America. It won the Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians, the inaugural Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians and was voted one of the year's ten outstanding academic books by Choice Magazine.  

Washington has been advisor and historical consultant for numerous documentary films, including “Africans in America,” “Unchained Memories: The Narratives of Former Slaves;” “This Far by Faith: A History of the Black Church;” “Wade in the Water: the Musical Legacy of Gullah Culture;” and “Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided.” Washington was featured the CNN series, “Race for the White House," and “Tell Them We are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” Washington is currently writing a book entitled, “‘Thine for the Oppressed’: Black and White Women Activists in the Age of Emancipation.”