WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 14, 2022 — West Liberty University will be represented at the Wheeling celebration of Juneteenth 2022 with a weekend of public activities.
Special Assistant to the President for DEI and Strategic Initiatives Dr. Monique L. Akassi will be a speaker at the ceremonies on Sunday, June 19. These begin at 5 p.m. at the Market Plaza in Downtown Wheeling (north end). This location is significant due to the fact that at one time in the 19th century, the spot was the site of a slave auction.
“I look forward to participating in the Juneteenth celebration and will speak on the meaning of the commemoration and its history, as well as how we are working toward unity today,” Akassi said. Juneteenth became a federal holiday on June 17, 2021.
It commemorates the date of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved people were now free. This was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. (Please see www.juneteenth.com.)
The kick-off to Wheeling’s Juneteenth will begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 17, at the Ohio County Public Library with a special edition of Lunch with Books titled “Crossing the River for Freedom: Slavery and the Underground Railroad.” Public historian Kristina Estle, who is director and curator of the Ohio Valley Underground Railroad Museum, will present her research on the Underground Railroad and abolitionist movement in Belmont County and slavery in Wheeling.
The following day, Saturday, June 18, the Wheeling YWCA will host an evening that celebrates Black resilience and culture beginning at 5 p.m. Professional re-enactor and magician Rory Rennick will perform an act that tells the story of Henry “Box” Brown, an enslaved man who shipped himself to freedom in a wooden box. Following the Henry “Box” Brown reenactment, the Goree Drum and Dance Company will perform a traditional West African dance show.
Finally, on Sunday, June 19, the community is invited to come together to honor and celebrate African American history, music, faith, family and freedom and the fourth annual Wheeling Juneteenth Ceremony. The event will begin at 5 p.m. with a short ceremony at the north end of The Plaza on Market in Downtown Wheeling and continue with speakers including Akassi, Darryl Clausell, president of the West Virginia NAACP; Jerry Moore, president of the Belmont County NAACP; the Rev. Twila Davis, Macedonia Baptist Church; and Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott.
Music and entertainment follows by:
- Voices of Praise, Macedonia Baptist Church
- Isaiah Keez (Rap)
- Soul Skool (Soul, Hip Hop, R&B)
There will also be food trucks set up at the south end of the Market Street Plaza and the event is free and open to the public.
In the event of inclement weather, the Wheeling Juneteenth Ceremony and Celebration will be held at Towngate Theatre (2118 Market Street, Wheeling). Wheeling’s Juneteenth Celebration is presented in partnership with the Wheeling Area Juneteenth Committee including: the YWCA Wheeling, the City of Wheeling, the Underground Railroad Museum, the NAACP, Wheeling Heritage, Oglebay Institute and West Liberty University. For more information, please click here or read the page one article that ran in the Monday, June 13, 2022 Wheeling News-Register linked here.