MSU Juneteenth Celebration

1st Annual MSU Juneteenth Celebration: From Freedom to Liberation

On Saturday, June 19, 2021, Michigan State University hosted a university wide andin-person celebration of Juneteenth to commemorate the freeing of enslaved African Americans in the U.S.

Join in this week-long celebration that will include virtual film screenings, panel discussions and webinars that will lead up to the in-person event. 

The commemoration will include a panel discussion, live music, food, messages from key leaders and an art installation titled "Hanging Haints" by graduate student Lillian Young who is a Family and Education Fellow at the Broad Art Museum. Join this historic celebration of African American culture with the Spartan community.   

Students, staff, faculty, alumni and members of the local community are invited to RSVP to the celebration.  

Campus Partners: Department of African American and African StudiesBlack Students’ Alliance; Black Graduate Student Association; Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association; MSU Black Alumni, Inc.; Athletics; WKAR Public Media; MSU Libraries; and College of Music. 

Campus Sponsors: College of Human Medicine and College of Social Science. 

Welcome Message by Board of Trustee Chair

On behalf of the Board of Trustees at Michigan State University, it is my pleasure to help recognize Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. I applaud the leadership of the Office for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion; Black Students' Alliance; Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association; Department of African American and African Studies; and MSU Black Alumni for planning and executing our first-ever campus and community wide celebration. Juneteenth is a historic moment for our nation when African Americans were freed from chattel slavery.

As we at MSU work to fulfill our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, I am confident that we can overcome the barriers of division and look forward to MSU's observance of Juneteenth celebrations for many years to come.

-Trustee Chair Dianne Byrum

(download pdf of poster)


 MSU Juneteenth Celebration Program

Saturday, June 19, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. (EDT)

Munn Field (Northeast corner)


Dr. Tama Hamilton-Wray and Mr. Dantevius Branigan
DJ MaVen


Art Installation "Haingin' Haints"
Lillian Young
Family and Education Fellow at the Broad Art Museum
Welcome Message
Dr. Jabbar R. Bennett
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer


Lift Every Voice and Sing
performance by
Mr. & Mrs. Mark & Sadie Rucker
College of Music


Brief History of Juneteenth
Dr. Nakia D. Parker
Department of History 


Panel Discussion
Dr. Rema Vassar (Trustee)
Ms. Felicia Wasson (Alum)
Ms. Sharron Reed-Davis (Student)
Dr. Lee N. June (Faculty)
I'm a Soldier in the Army of the Lord
performance by
Mr. & Mrs. Mark & Sadie Rucker
College of Music
Black Students' Alliance
Black Graduate Student Association
Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association
MSU Black Alumni, Inc.
Our Charge
Marlon Lynch
Vice President of Public Safety and Chief of Police
Hold Out Your Light
performance by
Mr. & Mrs. Mark & Sadie Rucker
College of Music


RSVP(limited seating) 

*Attendees will be required to fill out MSU’s Health Screening prior to coming on the same day.

Voter rights are an essential part of freedom, equality and liberation. Learn more about MSUvote and how you can take action to support voter rights. MSU is designated as a Voter Friendly Campus. Follow @MSUvote on Facebook and Instagram.

Juneteenth Campus Celebrations

A week-long celebration leading up to the in-person event on Saturday, June 19, 2021

FILM: Twin Pandemics with Q&A

Follow three students through the tumultuous year of 2020 as they struggle with the new reality of education under Covid and the tragic murder of George Floyd. "Twin Pandemics" (2021) is a film by Director Cierra Chapman.

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D. will introduce the film project.

Presented by the School of Journalism and WKAR Public Media.

Monday, June 14, 2021, 7:00 p.m. (EDT)

Visit the event page: 

FILM: Racism: An American Reckoning? with Q&A

"An American Reckoning?" (2021) is a documentary project by Director Amol Pavangadkar that will explore the deep divide that endures in our nation on issues of race. In this preview of the upcoming film, brutal murders we have viewed on screen are revisited by Black women who have experienced their own share of racial trauma.

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Jabbar R. Bennett, Ph.D. will introduce the film project.

Presented by the School of Journalism and WKAR Public Media

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 7:00 p.m. (EDT)

Visit the event page: 

FILM: Juneteenth Jamboree with Q&A

With the Galveston landing of U.S. Army Gen. Gordon Granger in 1865, slavery in Texas ended. African bondsmen became freedmen, and women and children likewise became African Americans. Many left the plantations to join freedom colonies; others sought out opportunities in cities and towns. Today, the consequences of gentrification and rising property values challenge new generations.

Following the screening, panelists take questions and discuss issues raised by the film, the history of Juneteenth celebrations, and their personal experiences honoring and celebrating the day.

Presented by WKAR Public Media in partnership with MSU Libraries.

Thursday, June 17, 2021, 7:00 p.m. (EDT)


4-H Juneteenth Jubilee

Youth statewide are invited to participate in our 4-H Global Education Day to explore African American culture and learn what Juneteenth is all about. Through this fun virtual event, we will learn how it started, what it represents and how it is celebrated today. 4-H youth who register will receive a Juneteenth Jubilee kit in the mail with materials for the live Zoom event.  

Presented by MSU Extension.

Saturday, June 19, 2021, 10:00 a.m. (EDT)


Questions? Email Ashley Walds ( and Milaina McCann (

A Conversation on Juneteenth and Zora Neale Hurston

Join a conversation with author and award-winning social education expert Rae Chesny who will share the ways that Zora Neale Hurston, daughter of a slave, trained anthropologist, and prolific interdisciplinary writer, worked to preserve cultural heritage throughout the African Diaspora, while also being a mainstay in the Harlem Renaissance. 

Presented by the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.

Saturday, June 19, 2021, 3:00 p.m. (EDT)


Spartan Social Justice Movie Club: Fruitvale Station

The Spartan Social Justice Movie Club encourages MSU community to virtually connect and discuss movies that matter related to social justice, history and societal issues. This month's movie selection is Fruitvale Station (2013) that dramatizes the final 24-hours of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident played by Michael B. Jordan.

Presented by University Advancement.




Juneteenth - On June 19, 1865, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and a couple of months after the end of the Civil War, newly posted Major General Gordon Granger issued orders to free the over 250,000 African American slaves in Texas who had not yet been informed of the new law. Juneteenth is considered the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of the enslavement of African Americans and Blacks in the U.S.  

Black National Anthem - 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' (poetry and lyrics) by James Weldon Johnson

Freedom - the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without restraint.

Liberation - securing equitable, social, economic and judicial rights.



Submit your Juneteenth Celebration on the website on the Events page.

Event inquiries:

Press inquiries: 

Download Juneteenth Marketing Kit (identifier mark, video, GIF, poster, virtual backgrounds) 


Juneteenth Sponsors and Partners

We thank representatives from the various colleges, units and organizations who devoted a valuable amount of time to be a part of the 2021 Juneteenth events.


College of Social Science


College of Human Medicine


Recreational Sports and Fitness Services


African American and African Studies (AAAS)


Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association (BFSAA)


Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) 



MSU Black Students' Alliance


MSU Black Alumni


College of Music


MSU Athletics Department 




MSU Libraries


College of Communication Arts and Sciences


School of Journalism






Center for Community Engaged Learning