Reflections on Juneteenth

Chancellor Douglas A. Girod M.D.
Friday, June 19, 2020, 8 a.m.
KU Lawrence All Staff Faculty and Affiliates,All KU Lawrence and Edwards Students

Dear Students, Staff, Faculty and Members of the KU Community,

KU was founded in 1865. On this day that same year — June 19, 1865 — news of freedom was finally delivered to enslaved Blacks in Galveston, Texas. This was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Kansas is now one of 47 states that recognize the observance of this day as Juneteenth, a celebration of slavery’s end in the United States.

The end of slavery has not meant the end of racism and injustice. Especially this year, as incidents of anti-Black violence and discrimination have spurred outrage and protests, many are commemorating Juneteenth with reinvigorated purpose. Others are reflecting on the realization that they actually know very little about Juneteenth, an omission in their schooling and knowledge of American history that is worthy of further exploration.

Because the fight for racial justice continues, let’s acknowledge the significance of Juneteenth today. The occasion serves as a reminder that we must continue doing all we can to advance a more just and equitable world. Systemic challenges require systemic change, and we will update you soon with progress on our action steps at KU.


Doug and Barb

Douglas A. Girod

Barbara A. Bichelmeyer
Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor