Juneteenth Celebration Set for June 16 at Academy Art Museum

The Frederick Douglass Honor Society and the Academy Art Museum recently announced plans for a Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 16, 2012, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland.

Juneteenth, one of the most important African American holidays in the country, marks the abolition of slavery. It commemorates the date – June 19, 1865 – when the slaves in Galveston, Texas first received the word of the Emancipation Proclamation, which Abraham Lincoln had issued two and one-half years earlier on January 1, 1863.

According to Eric Lowery, President of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, “Our goal is to celebrate the significant contributions of African Americans in our country, and reflect on the common values and ideals that we share as a community. Last year’s Juneteenth Celebration was particularly exciting with the dedication of the statue of Frederick Douglass at the Talbot County Courthouse — and we are preparing another great program for this year.”

The centerpiece of the Juneteenth Celebration will be a special screening of the new documentary “Double Victory” about the historic role of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II at 2:30 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre in Easton. These pioneering African Americans bravely fought a war on two fronts: fascism abroad and racial injustice at home. “Double Victory” was produced by George Lucas and serves as a companion to the feature film “Red Tails” now in theatres nationwide. A panel discussion will follow the screening, featuring original Tuskegee Airmen sharing their personal experience, moderated by Vic Carter, WJZ’S Eyewitness News Co-Anchor. The program is part of the Double Victory Museum Tour, which also includes an Education Guide and Faith Study Guide.

Erik Neil, Director of the Academy Art Museum, shares his excitement, “In addition to the inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen, we are planning a variety of other activities to showcase African American achievement in the arts. I am particularly excited to host a small exhibition of the art of Tom Miller, a nationally-acclaimed African American artist from Baltimore known for joyous and whimsical paintings, prints, and furniture.”

Other activities will include a performance of African dance and music by the Sankofa Dance Theatre from Baltimore, songs by the Sombarkin’ trio and local church choirs, the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Talbot County Public School students, and art projects for children and families.

The program is free and open to the entire community. Support for the event has come from the Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County Arts Council with funds provided by Talbot County and the Town of Easton, The Pocket Media Group, Konsyl Pharmaceutical, Orion Safety Products, and Total Home Performance. This program was also made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC), through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH); any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or the MHC. Sponsorships are available by contacting the Juneteench Celebration co-chairs, Rick Scobey (rscobey@worldbank.org) or Harriette Lowery (hlowery@chesapeake.edu).

For more information about the Juneteenth Celebration, visit the Frederick Douglass Honor Society at http://www.frederickdouglasshonorsociety.org/ or the Academy Art Museum at http://www.academyartmuseum.org/. For more information about the Double Victory Museum Tour, visit www.teamredtails.com.

In photo: Pictured are the Tuskegee Airmen in Ramitelli, Italy in March 1945 (Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-ppmsca-13259)

In photo above: Double Victory Poster (Courtesy of Lucasfilms, Ltd.)

In photo: Sankofa Dance Theatre from Baltimore, Maryland (Courtesy of Young Audiences of Maryland)