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Penn State & Downtown State College To Host Juneteenth Events Beginning June 15

Penn State and downtown State College can celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day throughout the week leading up to Juneteenth beginning on Thursday, June 15, and concluding Saturday, June 17.

Penn State announced in May that the university will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth as official university holidays. This will be the first year Penn State will observe Juneteenth as a holiday.

Juneteenth was first recognized by Pennsylvania as a holiday in 2019, and President Joe Biden signed the celebration into law as a federal holiday in 2021.

Juneteenth began as a celebration of the end of slavery in Texas and is now considered a holiday celebrating the emancipation of slavery in the United States.

Penn State Libraries Commemorating Juneteenth

Penn State Libraries will have an assortment of resources including books, articles, art, and more to uplift and support Black voices in celebration of Juneteenth.

Community members can learn more about Juneteenth and its history by diving into the library’s resources here.

Thursday, June 15 — Livestream And Discussion Of Juneteenth Documentary

At 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, join community members for a livestream viewing and discussion of the Annenberg Classroom’s documentary “Juneteenth: Exploring Freedom Stories.”

A panel discussion will follow the showing of the documentary. Some panelists include Eric Foner, Andrea “Ang” Reidell, Justin Schwartz, and more.

The documentary details the history of Juneteenth and how citizenship was expanded through the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

To register for the event, visit the registration page. Folks can learn more about the event here.

Friday, June 16 — Art Exhibit

From 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 16, the Borough of State College, the State College National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, and the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau will present an art exhibit for community members to enjoy.

The art exhibit, “Freedom, Unity, Equity, and Peace,” will be available at the Woskob Family Gallery, located at 146 S. Allen St.

Saturday, June 17 — Block Party

A block-style party in the 100 block of South Fraser Street in downtown State College will also be available for community members to celebrate and commemorate the liberation of the last enslaved people in Texas in 1865.

The Penn State Center for Performing Arts, the State College NAACP, and the MLK Plaza Committee will host the block party as part of the annual Juneteenth celebration.

From noon to 5 p.m., you can expect live music and performances, food trucks, an array of Black vendors, and more.

To learn more about the art exhibit and block party downtown, visit the State College NAACP’s Facebook. More information about Penn State’s Juneteenth resources and events can be found here.

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About the Author

Gracie Mullan

Gracie is a senior from Delaware County, Pa, studying telecommunications with a minor in English. In her free time, Gracie likes to read, write, and drink coffee. Get in touch with Gracie on her Instagram @gracie.mullan and for more formal inquiries [email protected].

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