As Juneteenth is being celebrated nationwide this weekend, the latest edition of the Poetic Justice Cypher pays homage to the holiday celebrating emancipation.
The power of the word is all about liberation, and it’s only right that Cassius brings you the latest edition of the Poetic Justice Cypher video series featuring poetic powerhouses from Historic Black Colleges & Universities to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday in grand fashion. This year is special, as Juneteenth is now a federal holiday after the Biden presidential administration signed Senate bill S.475 into law making it so last year.
Juneteenth’s origins lie in the state of Texas, where on June 19th, 1865, enslaved Black people came to find out from Union Army soldiers who had arrived that they had been freed two years before due to the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The freed people celebrated, and marked that day as a holiday ever since. In the years following, Black communities in other states joined in and celebrated the day along with Black Texans.
The quest to have Juneteenth recognized as a national holiday had picked up steam in recent years. Ms. Opal Lee, a retired teacher who is regarded as “the grandmother of Juneteenth”, steadfastly advocated for it and was present as President Biden signed the bill into law.
For this Poetic Justice Cypher, the four poets presented espouse on what Juneteenth means to them, and how they feel the day should be honored. HBCUs are a major cornerstone of the Black community as repositories of our history and as bridges between generations. In this video, we hear from Allyson Smith of Howard University, Darius Donald of Kentucky State University, Edwina Belizaire of North Carolina A&T State University and Ta’Mia King, North Carolina Central University. Each student represents well with passion and pride
Kick off Juneteenth with pride and power and check out the video in full above.