The African American Museum of Iowa is excited to bring a weeklong celebration to communities across Iowa and beyond with a virtual celebration starting Monday, June 15, 2020.

Visit the museum's website or their Facebook page to participate in these virtual events. 

The museum's largest free event, this annual program promotes black achievement, with a platform for learning more about black history. This year’s celebration has particular significance as the world witnessed the most recent murder of yet another black person, George Floyd, and the ensuing national and global protest that continues today.

“So, the Museum won’t just be celebrating, but launching renewed efforts in the fight toward real justice and equality, armed with allies and voices that need to be heard,” said Museum executive director, LaNisha Cassell.

Juneteenth is an annual, nation-wide celebration of the freeing of enslaved African Americans in the U.S. on June 19, 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation at last reached Confederate Galveston, Texas, two years after the 1863 issuance.

The AAMI’s event is sponsored by Alliant Energy, Collins Community Credit Union and in partnership with the Cedar Rapids and Marion Civil Rights Commissions, the City of Iowa City Office of Equity and Human Rights, and Johnson County Government.

In addition to sponsor and partner video remarks, the week will be filled with a lineup featuring dance, spoken word, rap, step, and singing performances. There will be an art demonstration, “how to” videos, a conversation on health, an art exhibit with Artisan Sanctuary and so much more.

A special highlight will be a recitation by world-renowned opera singer and Iowa native, Dr. Simon Estes. He will recite a portion of “The Other America,” a well cited speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.

There will also be a featured racial reconciliation prayer from Cedar Rapids’ new Wellington Heights Community Church.

If you are seeking opportunities to support the Museum through some new and community-based initiatives, check out The Black Pin Project, and the 100% Over Racism effort. Contributions can also be made directly at the museum's website.

The African American Museum of Iowa is a statewide institution dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and teaching Iowa’s African American history. As Iowa’s leading educational resource on the topic, we educate more than 30,000 people each year through tours, traveling exhibits, research services, youth and adult education programs, and community and fundraising events.

Date of publication

Monday, June 15, 2020