Minnesota Humanities Center

Juneteenth 2024

Celebrate. Educate. Agitate. Create. 

Commemorate Juneteenth with the Minnesota Humanities Center

Known as Emancipation Day and America’s second Independence Day marking the end of slavery in the United States, Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021 and a Minnesota state holiday in 2023. The day presents an opportunity to celebrate, educate, agitate, and create. 

As we have for the past several years, the Minnesota Humanities Center has co-created a series of Juneteenth program offerings that invite audiences to learn and engage with the past and imagine and create a more just and equitable future. From school-age children to elders, corporate leaders to scholars, and across our citizenry, our in-person programming and online resources offer opportunities for learning and connection. 

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Have a question? Contact MayKao Fredericks.

Attend a Juneteenth Event 

This year’s offerings will create space for thoughtful, intentional conversation across the issue of Black liberation, justice and equity, going deep to broaden our understanding, challenge romanticized notions of the past, examine through more diverse viewpoints, and imagine solutions to our present and persistent problems.  

Join us and our Juneteenth Commemoration Sponsors at one of this year’s events: 

Film Screening of Juneteenth Reckoning with Slavery: MN African American History 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

OMG Studios, St. Paul

11:00 a.m.

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Co-produced by OMG Studios and the Minnesota Humanities Center, this documentary challenges our understanding of slavery, its impact on Minnesota, and how we reconcile our past by taking viewers on a present-day journey to Ghana, to the quarters of Harriet and Dred Scott, and into conversations with current and future scholars. Featuring Akwamu Traditional Area’s King Odeneho Kwafo Akoto, III, and Queen Mother Nana Afrakoma, II, of West Africa, Ghana, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter III, MN Humanities Center CEO Kevin Lindsey, St. Cloud State University American Studies Chair and Minnesota Book Award Winner Dr. Christopher Lehman, and Minnesota creative treasures T. Mychael Rambo and Thomasina Petrus, and concluding with voices from the Black Youth Healing Arts Center (BYHAC). 

This year’s documentary film is brought to audiences by Ujamaa Place, St. Paul Public Library, and the City of St. Paul.

Funding for this project is provided in part by Thrivent, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the African American Leadership Forum, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Minnesota Association for Black Lawyers, Mortenson, and Mutual of America.


Juneteenth Brunch featuring Bakari Sellers

One of the premier gatherings of Minnesota’s thought leaders, creative sector and business leaders, the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Juneteenth Brunch is an opportunity for the community to examine how together we can work toward greater justice and equity.  
 
The 2024 Juneteenth Brunch will feature a keynote address and community conversation with Bakari Sellers on the thesis of his new book, The Moment: Thoughts on the Race Reckoning That Wasn’t and How We All Can Move Forward Now. Sellers is a CNN political analyst and lobbyist for the government of Liberia, and a former member of the South Carolina legislature. This commemoration experience includes a carefully curated brunch, festive celebration, and a copy of Mr. Sellers’ new book. Funding for this project is provided in part by Thrivent, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the African American Leadership Forum, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Minnesota Association for Black Lawyers, Mortenson, and Mutual of America.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation services will be available at this event.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

St. Paul Event Center, St. Paul

8:00 a.m.

Don’t miss this early bird pricing! Early bird pricing ends on May 31st.


Kumbayah the Juneteenth Story 
Actors take a bow at the end of the performance of Kumbayah The Juneteenth Story by Rose McGee.

Friday, June 21, 2024

Northrop, Minneapolis

11:00 a.m.

Written by Rose McGee, Kumbayah the Juneteenth Story is a 90-minute, two-act play that takes audiences on a time-bending journey into the past, addressing the factual and traumatic time in our history when the news was deliberately withheld that the Civil War was over and Black people were no longer to be kept as slaves with states in rebellion. Spanning centuries and continents, with scenes set in early 1800s West Africa, present-day North Minneapolis, and the Turner Plantation in 1863 Texas, the play depicts tragedy but is ultimately tremendously uplifting. It is recommended for audience members aged 8 and older, and includes an age-appropriate, post-performance conversation with the cast facilitated by Dr. Amelious Whyte, UMN’s College of Liberal Arts Interim Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

This year’s play is brought to audiences by Northrop with support from UMN Office for Equity and Diversity, The Liberal Arts Engagement Hub, Sweet Potato Comfort Pie, and Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools.

Funding for this project is provided in part by Thrivent, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the African American Leadership Forum, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, Minnesota Association for Black Lawyers, Mortenson, Mutual of America, and The University of Minnesota Imagine Fund.

 American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation services will be available at this event.

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Juneteenth Commemoration Sponsors

Corporate, community and philanthropic support help us bring programming to the people of Minnesota. Thank you to the following partners for their generous sponsorship of the Minnesota Humanities Center’s 2024 Juneteenth commemoration. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities
Minnesota's Legacy - Track the Progress