During the Nissan Foundation's 30th anniversary year, we're profiling some of the Foundation's many grantees working to promote the value of our differences. With the approach of the Juneteenth holiday, we spotlight the Atlanta History Center's unique programming marking the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. #NissanFoundation30

The 33-acre campus of the Atlanta History Center will serve as backdrop for an interactive Juneteenth commemoration open to the public, free of charge, on Sunday, June 19. Supported by a grant from the Nissan Foundation, the event is designed to be equal parts education and celebration.

"That latter piece is really important for us because Juneteenth is truly a celebration in many African American communities," says Kristian Weatherspoon, vice president of Digital Storytelling for the center.

Now recognized as a federal holiday, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. While Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, many African Americans remained enslaved for several years longer. It was not until June 19, 1865, that the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were freed. Juneteenth annually marks that moment.

For the past two years, the Atlanta History Center's Juneteenth commemoration has been virtual. This year's in-person event takes full advantage of the center's sprawling grounds. The program begins inside the museum with a video on the origin and importance of Juneteenth and continues with various curated experiences, including museum theater pieces touching on African American history and life post-emancipation.

The celebration continues on the center's farm where visitors will explore African American life and culture during enslavement. The center is home to a farmhouse dating back to the 1840s and believed to be the oldest surviving farmhouse in Atlanta.

"The farmhouse is reminiscent of what would have existed and where enslaved individuals would have been held," explains Clare Haley, vice president of Public Relations and Programs for the Atlanta History Center. "It gives us the opportunity to talk about that moment of emancipation. We don't always dig into that, but think about what it would have been like to go from not being considered a human to being emancipated."

The center's Juneteenth experience culminates at the historic Swan House with a "Jubilee on the Lawn" where visitors will enjoy music, games and food from locally owned black businesses.

"The Nissan Foundation grant is absolutely essential," says Haley. "It has allowed us to create a foundational video on Juneteenth, to hire local actors for the museum theater pieces, and to host the celebration on Swan House lawn. We wouldn't be able to do this program – and at this level – without the Nissan Foundation's support."

Established in 1992, the mission of the Nissan Foundation is to build community through valuing cultural diversity. Over the last 30 years, the Nissan Foundation has awarded more than $13 million nonprofit organizations that support the Foundation's mission. The Nissan Foundation is part of Nissan Americas' commitment to enriching people's lives by helping to meet the needs of communities throughout the U.S. through philanthropic investments, corporate outreach sponsorships and other charitable contributions. More information about the Nissan Foundation can be found online at www.nissanusa.com/about/community-relations.html.

Issued by Nissan


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