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On Thursday, June 17, at 8 p.m. ET, PBS Books will share a special virtual program—“Lift Every Voice and Sing”—which was created by 10 leading Black museums and historical institutions across the nation. Celebrating the victory and liberty of the African American people and representing’s second year of collaboration, the virtual program will be offered in partnership with The Charles H. Wright Museum. The event can be viewed here and

The event will commemorate Juneteenth, the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was officially enforced, ending enslavement in Texas. Juneteenth dates to June 19, 1865, when union soldier, Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This announcement was more than two and half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

The participating museums each have contributed a segment to the film, selecting a theme from the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Among the topics explored are the pride of over 200 years of Gullah culture, the perseverance of Little Africa through Black Laws, tenacity through industry and pop culture in Detroit, and resiliency during the COVID Era.

Additional performances will feature the African American Cultural Ensemble (ACE), West African Dance and poetry. There will also be readings of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteen through Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed after the Civil War to abolish slavery and grant equal rights to all citizens, including newly freed enslaved Americans.

This event was live streamed here and on the SJR State Learning Resources homepage on June 17, 2021.

Additional Resources

Visit our Juneteenth guide!

For more about Life Every Voice and Sing, visit these sites:

Lift Every Voice and Sing - The text

James Weldon Johnson - A biography and links to other works by the Florida-born poet

"Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" - An online exhibit from the Yale University Library that "offers a look at the creation of the song, and at the lives and careers of the brothers who created it."

Till Victory Is Won: The Staying Power Of 'Lift Every Voice And Sing'

‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’: The story behind the ‘black national anthem’ that Beyoncé sang