At 7 p.m. Saturday, the city of Alameda will host a free Zoom production of “Words That Made the Difference: Brown vs. the Board of Education,” written and directed by Dr. Cindy Acker, Ed.D., a five-time award-winning educator and playwright who lives and works in Alameda. The program, which can also be seen online via Facebook Live, will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
The screening, which runs 1 hour and 43 minutes, is based on actual events in the fight to end school segregation and is set in the courtrooms of history, capturing the real words in court cases that culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education. The script draws from trial transcripts of the five cases that were brought together in front of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s memoirs. As with Juneteenth, the Brown case decision took effect years after the legal ruling.
Juneteenth (June 19) commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to carry the announcement that all enslaved people were free, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The next year, the first celebration of Juneteenth/Jubilee Day was organized on June 19.
Today, at least 45 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, and there are current efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday. In 2016, the city of Alameda began proclaiming June 19 as Juneteenth Day, recognizing and celebrating the country’s oldest commemoration of African American freedom, achievement and triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery.
The Brown ruling made history in 1954, 89 years after Juneteenth, and 2021 is the 156th year since Juneteenth, which stands to remind us that all must be free and that no one is free until all are free.
— city of Alameda
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