Foster from Nebraska shares his personal thoughts on Juneteenth | Nebraska today



Editor’s Note – Nebraska Today writer Annie Albin asked Charlie Foster, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Inclusive Student Excellence, a personal reflection on Juneteenth, and what it means for his family.

The Fosters moved to Lincoln in the summer of 2001. We didn’t learn of Juneteenth and the Lincoln celebrations until the following summer. Friends we have in Lincoln (and University of Nebraska-Lincoln) knew we had kids so they suggested we attend. We gathered our folding chairs and a cooler of cold soda to take with us.

We were overwhelmed by the friendliness and open hearts that surrounded us. We laughed at suddenly meeting all of our new best friends. For the boys, it was liberating as they could see other little boys with coffee and chocolate skin.

We were going to attend whenever we were in town. It became one of the things our family did together. Another was attending the Martin Luther King, Jr. march, but that’s a story for another day.

The boys became men and they were attending the June 15 celebration with friends they had brought from ONE. Members of their football team or their fraternity brothers would all come with them. They would spend their time playing games with children or providing cold sodas. It has become a part of our life.

I will not soon forget the joy we had at these celebrations or the wonder of seeing my boys turn to the men with the other children we meet every year. We are grateful for the memories and opportunities we had to teach our children all the good things black families do in Lincoln. It was a living history lesson that we celebrate every year.


Juneteenth, otherwise known as Emancipation Day or Freedom Day, celebrates the day in 1865 when all those forced into slavery finally became free.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect in 1863 and freed many people, slaves in Confederation-controlled states did not see the law implemented in their territories. On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Texas and announced that the remaining 250,000 slaves in the state were free – a statement that spurred the party we now know as Juneteenth.

the The United States Senate voted on June 15 to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, followed by the House of Representatives on June 16. President Joseph R. Biden enacted the bill on June 17. On June 17, University of Nebraska system president Ted Carter also announced that all university offices would be closed on June 18 due to the holiday.

To learn more about the history of Juneteenth, visit the website Website of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.



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