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Juneteenth - Past Events



Claims of the Negro:
400 Years of Chains and 143 Years of Gains?
   Created by Darryl Hell
      Produced by Real University/sektor 6 kommunikations
   Presented by chashama
@ chashama Gallery 112, 112 W44th St, NYC
June 19 - 28, 2008

June 19th - Opening gala [open to the public 4pm to 8pm]

             images from the June 19, 2008 exhibit

Gallery hours:
June 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 [inside open 12-noon to 6pm]
24-hour outside viewing w/sound June 19 to 28th

scheduled events:
Thursday, June 19, 5:00pm - vocal performance
Garrett Wilson - Urban Assembly School of Music and Art

 Thursday, June 19, 5:30pm - spoken word performance
Pheonyx "Black Blood Jesus"

Thursday, June 19, 6:00pm - discussion / Q&A
Pheonyx - Reconstruct Art {Harlem}

[A conversation about how the arts can transform the soul and act as a counterbalance for negative societal influences.]

 Sunday, June 22, 2:00pm - discussion / Q&A
Marcia Harris - Ban the N-Word

[A historical look at the word "nigger," and how it has become popularized...and what should be done to change that trend.]

Thursday, June 26, 5:30pm - discussion / Q&A
Harry Allen - Public Enemy, NONFICTION

[We sit down with the Public Enemy "Media Assassin" to discuss the influence popularized media images have in the Black community, and the country as a whole]

 Friday, June 27, 5:30pm - discussion / Q&A
Tishawna Gonsalves - Reconstruct Art

[A discovery of what urban youth face and how art can help change their perspectives toward more positive behaviors and actions.]

Friday, June 27, 6:30pm - discussion / Q&A
John Villone and Robert Michelin

[Chatting with two people who work in the NYC educational system. We'll discuss what the students face and whether they have an environment that empowers them while facilitating their education.]

 Saturday, June 28, 3:00pm - discussion / Q&A
People of the Sun Collective - Tribute to the Ancestors

[As we end our exhibit we present to you a conversation about the Middle Passage. Our guests have been producing an event commemorating the Middle Passage in Coney Island for the past 19 years. In 2009 the will celebrate 20 years of this event.]

to let us know what you think or for inquiries: or 917.723.7281

This is the first Juneteenth art exhibition of it's type in the Times Square, New York City, Theater District. [directly across the street from the legendary Belasco Theater.]

We would like to thank everyone who has given their efforts to bring this concept to fruition. Our contributors include [alphabetically]; A. Peter Bailey, Adelaide Sanford, Art From The Heart, Ban the N-Word, Barrio Foods, breakThrough Technologies, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, Brown Eyed Intelligence, Cynthia McKinney, Delirious Dance, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Jared Ball Ph.d, Kush Cafe', Mindswerve Studio-NYC, Pam Payne, Reconstruct Art, Dr. Ron Daniels, and WBAI 99.5 fm-Pacifica Radio Network.

We would like to also a special thank you from the students to Joe Chan. He helped to supply the students with wonderful treats to help celebrate their participation in this project.

History begs us to learn its lessons and demands that we be the products of it. Juneteenth, June 19, 1865, is an annual commemoration/celebration of the last day of legalized slavery in the United States. This exhibition informs viewers about what this historic day might mean to us in the present, as a nation, and the opportunities it provides for positive societal and cultural growth. It also exposes the emotional, cultural and structural connective tissue of the past 143 years, which supplies a more broad comprehension of our current cultural condition. Juneteenth, primarily seen as a Black-American holiday, is a day of celebration for all Americans.
 The installation will feature video, audio and text works from a number of artists/researchers, exclusive video/audio interviews with human rights leaders, live performances and a special project from high school students who attend the Urban Assembly School of Music and Art, Brooklyn.
Darryl Hell, veteran mixed media artist, has consistently pushed the boundaries to explore the educative power of art and information as a combined force for social change. Since the mid 1970’s, Hell has developed a broad range of skills, which led to the creation of what he calls “InfoArt.”
The name "Claims of the Negro" is taken from the preeminent, June 14, 1854, Frederick Douglass speech that starkly explained the issues enslaved peoples faced as they moved forward toward what they hoped would be freedom and liberty. The speech is unique in the sense that it was written more than a decade before enslaved people would be "freed" into an uncertain and far-less-than-free future, by a person who was once enslaved.

s t a y   t u n e d . . .

As a resource we give you Claims of the Negro. It is a unique, inspiring, and educational look at the Black American historical experience.

An overview of the legacy of Juneteenth

When blacks in Texas heard the news, they alternately sang, danced and prayed. There was much rejoicing and jubilation that their life long prayers had finally been answered. Many of the slaves left their masters immediately upon being freed, in search of family members, economic opportunities or simply because they could. They left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and hope in their hearts. Oh, freedom!

"When my oldest brother heard we were free, he gave a whoop, ran, and jumped a high fence, and told mammy good-bye. Then he grabbed me up and hugged and kissed me and said, "Brother is gone, don't expect you'll ever see me any more," I don't know where he went, but I never did see him again." -- Susan Ross

Freedom meant more than the right to travel freely. It meant the right to name one's self and many freedmen gave themselves new names. County courthouses were overcrowded as blacks applied for licenses to legalize their marriages. Emancipation allowed ex-slaves the right to assemble and openly worship as they saw fit. As a result, a number of social and community organizations were formed, many originating from the church. Freedom implied that for the first time, United States laws protected the rights of blacks. There was a run on educational primers as freed men and woman sought the education that had for so long been denied them. The Bureau of Refuges, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, commonly known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was founded by Congress in March 1865 to provide relief services for former slaves. Schools were established and joined churches as centers of the newly-freed communities. The promise of emancipation gave freedmen optimism for the future; few realized slavery's bitter legacy was just beginning to unfold and that equality was to remain an elusive dream. Oh freedom!

At the beginning of Reconstruction, the period immediately following the end of the Civil War, rumors were rampant that every freedman would be given forty acres and a mule. Ex-slaves petitioned for land and, with federal troops stationed throughout the South to protect their rights, looked forward to participating in American society as free citizens. In some cases ex-slaves were successful in obtaining land. Land grants by Congress allowed several states to establish black colleges.

The optimism was short-lived, however, and soon replaced by a betrayal so soul shattering blacks questioned whether the United States was serious about granting them their freedom. Ex-slaves found for the most part, that despite the Freedman's Bureau, they were left to fend for themselves. The abject poverty and the racism that maintained it prohibited any hope for assimilation into American society. In Texas, the editor of the Harrison Flag newspaper denounced as "treasonable" the sale of land to blacks. The Texas Homestead Act, passed during Reconstruction, granted up to 160 acres of free land to white persons only. The Texas legislature in 1866 passed a new set of black codes that attempted to reverse the limited gains blacks had been granted.

Ex-slaves entered freedom under the worst possible conditions. Most were turned loose penniless and homeless, with only the clothes on their back. Ex-slaves were, as Frederick Douglas said "free, without roofs to cover them, or bread to eat, or land to cultivate, and as a consequence died in such numbers as to awaken the hope of their enemies that they would soon disappear."

By 1877, the end of Reconstruction, the North had abandoned black Americans to the will of southern whites, who through violence, racial discrimination and Jim Crow laws succeeded in disenfranchising them, resulting in more than 100 years of oppression. It's not surprising that blacks turned to the only institution that gave them hope--the church.
- Dr. Charles Taylor, author

A community educational message presented by
Real University CommWorks, WBAI 99.5 fm and
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