Juneteenth Celebration & Panel Discussion

Juneteenth will be honored on Feb 23, as Dr. Jajuan Johnson, Professor and Research Associate of the Lemon Project at Mary and William College will discuss the history and “The Significance of Juneteenth to African Americans.” Chicago Historian Ms. Africa Porter will also speak on the significance of Juneteenth. The day’s events will begin at noon with a Taste of Blackness soul food lunch at 12:00pm , the panel discussion at 1:00pm, followed by a discussion on black books that share stories of “Juneteenth” at 3:00pm by DA Book Joint Bookstore owner. 


Headshot of Dr. Jajuan Johnson

Dr. Jajuan Johnson

Dr. Jajuan Johnson is a Professor and Research Associate of the Lemon Project at Mary and William College. He is the Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow with the Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation at William & Mary. Johnson is an interdisciplinary Africana scholar whose research focuses on Black place making, racial violence, gender/sexuality, and late 19th and 20th-century African American history.

Dr. Johnson’s career in public history spans more than a decade. He was the Director of Research and Public Programming with Mosaic Templars Cultural Center: A Museum of African American History; Assistant Director of the Starr Center at Washington College in Maryland, where he co-led work on an African American Humanities Project focused on digitizing, preserving, and making accessible materials related to African American history and culture.

In addition to teaching courses at William and Mary on Africana research methods and critical heritage studies, he also researches the university’s historical ties to slavery and its afterlives. Johnson is also active with the US based Universities Studying Slavery Consortium.

Book Discussion

DA Book Joint Owner Verlean Simpkins will lead a book discussion on books that explore the history and significance of Juneteenth, from 3-4pm

In honor of Juneteenth, a light Soul food meal will also be served at noon in the Grand Hallway.

Headshot of Afrika Porter

Ms. Afrika Porter

Affectionately known as Sista Afrika, Afrika Porter is an Educator, Community Developer, Organizer, Business Consultant and a Community Servant Activist. She is the 5-time Emmy Award Winning Executive Producer & Writer of the highly acclaimed film, (www.chicagoatthecrossroad.com). Sista Afrika, serves on a number of corporate and non-profit Boards, including Better Brighter Futures Foundation for the Performing Arts, (formerly, Better Boys Foundation), Woodlawn Restorative Justice Project and Team John Hill. While serving as Black Heroes Matter Groups Public Relations Specialist, a non-profit, they were able to successfully obtain legislative approval for the Renaming of Chicago’s Historic Lake Shore Drive to Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Drive. A community advocate and activist, Porter also works with the National Rainbow PUSH Coalition, The Black Star Project, Sista Strong, WTT Healing, The Blue Den, Pink Lemons Foundation, Bad Kids Klass, The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, Wearing Big Hats, Soul Train Impact and many other organizations.


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