By Jamesia Downer, AFRO Intern

On June 19, 1865, the last group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were informed that the Union Army had won the Civil War and they were free. Since that day, Black people have celebrated their freedom every year for what has now been coined a national holiday:  Juneteenth.

Nearly 154 years later, the Juneteenth celebration continue across America but more specifically right here in Baltimore, Md., on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. 

“They visualized this day…where we would all come into this place and gather together for this special day. To celebrate their memory. To celebrate Juneteenth. To celebrate their contribution. To celebrate all the things and all the sacrifices that they made for all of us.” said Sean Yoes, AFRO’s Baltimore Editor and keynote speaker for Johns Hopkins Juneteenth Celebration.

Historically, Johns Hopkins has had many occasions of racism towards residents of Baltimore and the Black students who attend their university. In the present day, there is a group of people looking “to help foster a culture of oneness for all..” on the campus of Johns Hopkins, that group is the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA).

The Juneteenth celebration is one of many ways that BFSA brings African-American culture and history to the Johns Hopkins Campus. With musical performances by The Morgan State University Choir, Southern Baptist Church, and Keur Khaleyi African Dance Company a true spirit of black excellence filled the Glass Pavilion on the Homewood Campus. 

The Black Faculty and Staff Association invited Yoes as their keynote speaker for their annual Juneteenth celebration. For over 30 years, Yoes has used his career as a journalist and activist to be a strong, unwavering voice for the citizens of Black Baltimore. His words were a call to action for those beautiful “spooks behind the door” to continue advocating for African-Americans not only on the Johns Hopkins University campus but throughout the city of Baltimore. 

You do not need to be a member of BFSA to attend their events. Visit heck their website for any upcoming events that will help promote and celebrate African American life on the Johns Hopkins campus and throughout the city.