On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Gen. Gordon Granger informed enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free, putting into effect the Emancipation Proclamation that had been issued more than two and a half years earlier.
On Friday, we observe Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Friday marks 155 years since that milestone moment in our nation’s history. In light of the national conversations happening across our country and within our campus community regarding the ongoing injustices of systemic racism, I want to draw special attention to recognizing and honoring this important day.
Juneteenth is a time to celebrate Black American freedom and achievement. It is a time to reflect on the multitude of amazing and impactful contributions of Black Americans to our country, our state and NC State.
On this important occasion, as we remain mostly distant and off campus, I encourage us all to spend time learning more about Juneteenth and all it represents. Learn more about some of the many accomplishments and contributions of African Americans who are part of NC State’s history by exploring this archive from NC State University Libraries. And please read this article published by NC State’s African American Cultural Center on virtual ways to celebrate Juneteenth as well as information about online educational resources.
I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge several African American student leaders who are making a big difference at NC State today and for the generations that follow. Last week, leaders from the NC State Coalition of Black Organizations brought forward a petition with important and necessary actions for our institution. I appreciate these individuals and the leadership, courage, thoughtfulness and passion that went into the petition. I fully commit NC State’s administration and this university to achieving the items listed in the petition.
As rightfully stated in the petition, there is more work that needs to be done and more steps that need to be taken. There are additional issues that need to be addressed. This administration is committed to listening, learning and taking action alongside our community to keep moving forward and cultivate a campus culture where Black students, faculty and staff are always safe, supported, respected and valued.
I hope you will join me in observing Juneteenth to embrace and honor the importance of this special day. I also hope you will join me in doing all we can to ensure a university climate that embraces, values and advances a diverse, inclusive and supportive campus culture. Thank you for your commitment.
Randy Woodson, Chancellor