Celebrating Juneteenth: Internet2 Teams Up With the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library For a Special Musical Juneteenth Program

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Internet2’s Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP) teamed up with the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library for a special webinar today celebrating Juneteenth, Moving Forward: Juneteenth 2021. Juneteenth commemorates the date of June 19, 1866, when the last enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation a full 2.5 years after it was signed. A recording of the full presentation is available on the PPSP YouTube channel.

In the program, vocalist Lisa J. Williams-White spoke to poet and storyteller Oba William King about the history of Juneteenth and songs celebrating the newest federal holiday. In the program, poet and storyteller Oba William King spoke about the history of Juneteenth through stories and celebratory songs with vocalist Lisa J. Williams-White, including “How Many Freedom Songs Must We Sing before Freedom Comes,” “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee),” and “I Love My People.” King tours nationally presenting programs of story, song, and drum for all ages and cultures. A U.S. military veteran and author, he is also the founder and director of JUSTUS Arts Educational Entertainment, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award Recipient, and Illinois Humanities Council “Road” Scholar.

With accompanying vocals from Lisa J. Williams-White, storyteller and poet Oba William King tells the story of Juneteenth.

Stephanie Stenberg, CAP’s director, shared, “This year’s Juneteenth feels extra special because it was just declared a federal holiday. Having Ms. Williams-White and Mr. King present made what could have been an ordinary program an extraordinary one—their energy and passion are impossible to ignore.”

The Internet2 Community Anchor Program (CAP) produces the PPSP in partnership with the National Park Service to create free webinars for K-12 students to learn about U.S. presidents directly from presidential libraries and museums. In 2021, the PPSP produced 10 webinars from January through March of 2021 that ran live twice a day to accommodate different time zones. This year, the PPSP series served over 12,000 students in 200 classrooms and 40 states. The PPSP also partners with presidential libraries and museums for additional special presentations like Moving Forward: Juneteenth 2021.