Rice to recognize Juneteenth with programming series, participation in community celebrations

Juneteenth celebrations at Rice and around Houston


Rice University’s annual Juneteenth recognition and celebration will bring together Owls and experts from across the city and country to explore ideas and questions central to the meaning and promise of the important holiday. The programming includes speaking panels, community gatherings, parades and many more activities.

June 14, 9-10:30 a.m. — Juneteenth and Justice for All: Black Struggle, the Constitution and Democratic Futures, Room 130, Kraft Hall
Juneteenth is a holiday that not only celebrates the past but also invites reflection on the future of American democracy and the struggle for justice. Please join a panel discussion of how past freedom fighters such as Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer and Barbara Jordan conceived of emancipation and democratic futures as well as how the work of Juneteenth continues even today.

Panelists include Kenitra Brown ’07, president of the Association of Rice University Black Alumni and senior policy analyst at the Texas Indigent Defense Commission; Sherwin K. Bryant, director for the Center for African and African American Studies; Mary Ellen Curtin, associate professor of critical race, gender and culture studies at American University; Kimberly V. Jones ’19, assistant professor of Black diaspora in North America and African American history at the University of Denver; and Omar Syed, vice president and general counsel. The panel will be moderated by Alexander X. Byrd ’90, vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion. Attendance is free with registration. The event is also available on Zoom for those unable to attend in person.

June 14, 6-8 p.m. — Emancipation Conversations Lecture Series — Histories and Legacies of Emancipation in Black Houston’s History, Emancipation Park
This panel discussion will explore the overlapping histories and legacies of emancipation across Black Houston, considering the overlapping and expanding emancipatory practices that Black agents deployed to constitute freedom in Houston.

Panelists include Byrd, Texas Southern University Professor Karen Kossie-Chernyshev, Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Humanities Caleb McDaniel and Houston Public Library community liaison Erika Thompson. The panel will be moderated by KHOU-TV reporter Katiera Winfrey.

June 15, 7-10:30 a.m. — Second Annual Freedom Run/Walk, Emancipation Park
Everyone’s participation makes a meaningful impact on individual health and a positive impact on the community. Proceeds from the event fuel park programming initiatives that have a positive impact all year round. The organization offers everything from quarterly “Fitness Fun Day” events to weekly hip-hop aerobics and line dancing classes to keep the community moving forward in a positive direction. All fitness levels are more than welcome to join in the fun. Registration is free.

June 15, 1-5 p.m. — Juneteenth parade and picnic, 26th Street and Avenue H in Galveston
Enjoy the annual historic parade celebrating the legacy of Juneteenth followed by a picnic at Wright Cuney Park. The parade route starts at 26th and Avenue H and ends at 41st and Avenue H. The picnic will immediately follow at Wright Cuney Park. Attendance is free.

June 15-17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. — Fifth Annual Juneteenth Celebration at BLCK Market, 1201 Main
Get immersed in the rich history and significance of Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Explore the diverse vendor booths showcasing unique crafts, art and fashion. Indulge in mouthwatering soul food, BBQ and other delicious treats. Dance to the rhythm of live performances by talented local artists, showcasing the best of Black American music. Free-$8

June 16, 1:30-3 p.m. — Notes From America Celebrates Juneteenth from Houston, Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church
In partnership with the We The People Coalition and Houston Public Media, Notes From America invites Houston’s communities to a live taping of the show. The program, which will be recorded for broadcast later that evening and on stations across the country for Juneteenth, will explore the legacy of Barbara Jordan, the first Black woman elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and a former member of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Guests will trace the lineage of our democracy back to the period after Emancipation and discuss the power and potential of Black voters in contemporary politics. Attendees will also experience live performances by local artists and the church choir, and on-site voter registration will be available. The event is free to attend.

June 18, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Juneteenth Journey: Bridging Past and Present Through Technology, The ION
Blacks at Microsoft, in partnership with the ION, is proud to present Juneteenth Journey: Bridging Past and Present Through Technology, featuring speakers from the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and Emancipation Park Conservancy. This special presentation will offer insights into the historical significance of Juneteenth and illuminate the evolution of technology from the 1860s through World War II to modern artificial intelligence and the technology of today. Experts will illustrate the parallels between the innovative spirit of the Buffalo Soldiers and today’s technological advancements, emphasizing the role of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation. RSVP online. Free to attend. The event is also available on Zoom for those unable to attend in person.

June 18, 5 p.m. — In The Wake of Affirmative Action, Moody Center for the Arts Gallery and the Anderson Clarke Center’s Hudspeth Auditorium
Learn more about the impact that the Supreme Court’s decision concerning affirmative action is having on leadership at institutions of higher education and other organizations. How do we continue supporting college access for students from traditionally marginalized communities? How must we provide students with leadership development opportunities so they are fully equipped to be transformative, equity-driven leaders? The event is free to attend. RSVP online.

June 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Juneteenth Family Fun Day!, Emancipation Park
This year’s Juneteenth celebration features a family focused event, including fun family activities, vendor market, food trucks, live DJ, mobile gaming trailer and much more.

June 22, 3 and 7 p.m. — Juneteenth Screening of ‘If They Took Us Back,’ Emancipation Park Conservancy’s Cultural Center, 3018 Emancipation Ave.
Fourth Industrial Pictures and local writer and director Holly Charles-Pearson will screen the provocative alternate history short film “If They Took Us Back,” inspired by a hypothetical exodus of formerly enslaved people back to Africa following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. More than a century later, a descendant of the “Black Returns” decides to break the 160-year exile and return to the U.S. in exchange for overdue reparations from a remorseful, sympathetic and Black-obsessed America.

Majic 102.1 radio personality Madd Hatta will emcee the immersive, Juneteenth-inspired event, which includes not just the screening of the film but also the minidocumentary, “The Making of If They Took Us Back,” live musical performances from featured soundtrack artist Daniel Fears, live vendors and art exhibits, panel discussions and Q&As with the film, cast and writer/director. The event is hosted by the National Black MBA Association, Houston Chapter.

Celebrated nationwide, Juneteenth is of particular prominence for Texans. The holiday originated in Galveston and marks the anniversary of General Order No. 3 issued June 19, 1865, which proclaimed the end of slavery in Texas and the official emancipation of its enslaved people. The original version of General Order No. 3 was discovered in the United States National Archives in 2020.