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The Acting Program Honors Juneteenth

Faculty, students, and alumni of the acting program created an online exhibition, We Breathe Black.

Organized by faculty member Rosalyn Coleman Williams, We Breathe Black is an an innovative project documenting Juneteenth 2020.

A video by a member of the acting community was released every hour on the Instagram account @juneteenth_purchase. The account now features twenty-four videos created by students, faculty, and alumni featuring song, spoken word, poetry, movement, and more.

The works are also posted on a special Juneteenth channel on YouTube.

Juneteenth marks the official emancipation of African Americans from slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863 by President Lincoln, it wasn’t until more than two years later on June 19, 1865 that the last enslaved people in Texas were made aware of the decree and freed from bondage.

The date became known as Juneteenth and is celebrated as an independence day. Unlike July 4, which the former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass said only “reveals the immeasurable distance between us,” Juneteenth celebrated the day when all Americans were finally free. Now commemorated across the country, Juneteenth is also honored by celebrating African American history and heritage.

While slavery ended more than 150 years ago, the struggle for equal rights continues. This year, Juneteenth has special resonance when so many of our community members are taking to the streets to demand equal justice under the law.