Grambling State to Honor Juneteenth as an Official University Holiday 

Historically Black University Memorializes African American Independence Day

GRAMBLING, LA – June 12, 2020 – Today, Grambling State University announced that June 19 will be acknowledged as an official university holiday. Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Cel-Liberation Day, commemorates the date in 1865 that the last documented illegally detained slaves learned that they were free roughly two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law.  

“The observance of Juneteenth in our holiday schedule will support awareness of African American History and promote ongoing enlightenment among our students, employees, and other stakeholders about the continued significance of HBCUs,” said Martin Lemelle, Executive Vice President of Grambling State. 

The Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute, now Grambling State University, was founded in 1901, only 36 years after the official end of legal United States slavery on June 19, 1865. As an historically Black institution, GSU’s foundational values have been centered on the educational, societal, and professional progress of Black Americans.  

“Grambling State helped to do something incredible in North Louisiana at a crucial time,” said President Rick Gallot. “Our visionary founder Charles P. Adams took on the challenge of entering a post-Civil War south to battle all forms of racism and systemic oppression in order to build an institution that would shift the culture away from the mindset of an unpaid Black labor force into more brilliant, empowered Black experience. Juneteenth marks the start of that shift.” 

The University’s observance of June 19 as an official holiday means a campus-wide closure for the day effective immediately.  

“A lack of Black History in education plays a significant role in our society’s shift into a second major civil rights moment,” said Dr. Roshunda Belton, Head of the History Department at Grambling State. “Recognizing Juneteenth is a necessary step in deepening public understanding of American History, especially given the irreplaceable role of Black people in that story and how we see it playing out in today’s social climate.” 

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