How music, dance, and spirituality are integral to the Black resistance movement and Black identity

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Juneteenth Rally. Local faith leaders, city leaders and citizens meet downtown to celebrate the anniversary of Juneteenth and the Black Lives Matter movement in Grant Park, Chicago on June 19, 2020. Photo by Antwon McMullen/Shutterstock.

Although Juneteenth is familiar to many African Americans, celebrating the day varies. For young Black Americans, leanring about slavery is an intergral part of their history. Some mark the occasion by learning the lyrics and music of spirituals. Others celebrate with food and gatherings.  

KCRW’s Jonathan Bastian talks with American University’s Sybil Roberts Williams about how she’ll be celebrating Juneteenth — with a white candle and a plate of traditional foods. They also look at the importance of dance and music to the African American identity. 

Sybil Roberts Williams says “waking up on June 19th knowing that for the first time, I can get out of my bed and look at my own hands and my own feet and know that the day is mine.”



Andrea Brody