HKS reflects on Juneteenth

HKS reflects on Juneteenth


“I experience Juneteenth as a time of self-reflection,

celebration, and remembrance. My family, the descendants of enslaved Africans,

have been celebrating Juneteenth ever since I can remember. Our jubilees are

festive. We collectively celebrate Black joy and resilience, as well as our

work and activism to end anti-Black structural racism and realize the Black

liberation that was promised in the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Robbin Chapman
Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Harvard Kennedy School

Juneteenth is a day of reflection and

remembrance to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. On June

19, 1865, the last enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas, were

informed of the end of the Civil War and told they were free. Black Americans have celebrated the date

since the late 1800s, historically coming together to pray and give thanks. Over time Black families

have celebrated Juneteenth in several ways ranging from large festivals to

small, intimate gatherings with families and friends. 

In 2021, President Biden proclaimed Juneteenth a national holiday,

commemorating the past and calling Americans to action to eradicate

systemic racism. Juneteenth

gives us an opportunity to reflect on a day of profound significance for Black

people in the United States while thinking of the work that has been left


Want to learn more about the history and legacy of Juneteenth?

The HKS Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has compiled a list of

resources for reflection that we would like to share. 




Learn about—and consider tuning into or attending—Harvard community events celebrating


All Harvard University offices are closed Monday, June 20,

2022 in observance of the holiday.