Community, Engagement, Belonging and Access

Clemson community to celebrate Juneteenth with 2023 Juneteenth Festival


A consortium of community partners is proud to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday on Monday, June 19. The 2023 Juneteenth Festival will take place from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at various locations around Clemson’s main campus. Co-sponsors include: the cities of Clemson and Seneca, the Call My Name Coalition/Black Heritage Trail, Woodland Cemetery African American Burial Ground Project and Clemson University Libraries.  

“To me, what is exciting is coming together for this collaboration and at this magnitude,” said Angela Agard, Director of the Clemson Area African American Museum. “We’re combining creativity, resources, and manpower to educate others about Juneteenth and freedom.” 

The 2023 Juneteenth Festival will feature the following events, several of which have been moved to the Hendrix Student Center for inclement weather (locations are noted below): 

  • Spoken word and music performances (Hendrix Student Center McKissick Theater) 
  • Local Black history exhibit (Cooper Library) 
  • Virtual Woodland Cemetery Tour (Cooper Library starting at 11:30 a.m. for one-hour virtual tour) 
  • Call My Name Walking Tour (Meet at Old Main/Tillman Hall at 1 p.m. for one-hour walk, weather permitting) 
  • Author presentations and book signings (Hendrix Student Center Meeting Room A) 
  • Food trucks and vendors (Bryan Circle near Schilletter Dining Hall) 
  • Non-profit organization and vendor tables (Hendrix Student Center Ballroom B) 
  • Storytelling for children (Hendrix Student Center Meeting Room B) 
  • Balloon art and face painting for children (Hendrix Student Center Breezeway)
Rhondda Thomas
Rhondda Robinson Thomas

Organizations and vendors wishing to participate in the Juneteenth Festival should complete the application form by Monday, June 12. 

“Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in America,” said Rhondda Robinson Thomas, the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature and Faculty Director of Call My Name. “It is important to remember that there were enslaved people at the Fort Hill Plantation, the ground on which Clemson University sits. This festival with our community partners gives us an opportunity to honor and celebrate the 139 individuals who were forced to labor on this land and gained their freedom after the Civil War ended.” 

“As part of the Libraries’ mission, we preserve and discuss history and want to do so while also improving Town Gown relations,” said Dean of Libraries Christopher Cox. “We want to share what we know and invite the community onto campus to participate.” 

In addition to Clemson’s Juneteenth Festival, each city will host Juneteenth celebrations beginning June 13 leading up to Juneteenth. For more, visit the Call My Name Juneteenth page.  

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth (a blending of “June” and “Nineteenth”) commemorates June 19, 1865— two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation—when Union Major General Gordon Granger visited Galveston, Texas to issue General Order No. 3 advising that enslaved African Americans in Texas were free. Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day and Black Independence Day, spread throughout America and may be the longest-running African American holiday. Juneteenth became a federal holiday with the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 17, 2021.  

Festival Schedule – Monday, June 19, 2023 

Free public parking will be available in Lot R-9 behind Douthit Hills (entrance is at the corner of Newman Road and Walter T. Cox Boulevard). A free shuttle bus will run on a loop from the parking lot to the drop off and pick up stop in front of the Hendrix Student Center from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

A parking map showing the locations for free public parking (see description)

Storytelling, Balloon Art and Face Painting for Children 

Storytelling Location: Hendrix Student Center Meeting Room B
Balloon Art and Face Painting Location: Hendrix Student Center Breezeway 
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Spoken Word and Music Performances (Hendrix Student Center McKissick Theater) 

Location: Hendrix Student Center McKissick Theater
11 a.m.: DJ Cook
11:30 a.m.: Seitu Solomon – steelpan that creates a tropical sound fusing Reggae, Calypso, Afrobeat, Jazz and Pop 
12:15 p.m.: DJ Cook
12:30 p.m.: Nick Rich – rap artist 
1 p.m.: DJ Cook
1:30 p.m.: Dove Dupree – spoken word poetry and music 
2:15 p.m.: DJ Cook 
2:30 p.m.: Jasmine Myers – inspirational
2:45 p.m.: DJ Cook 

Non-profit Organizations and Vendor Tables

A variety of non-profit organizations sharing information and vendors selling various products will be a part of the Juneteenth Festival.   
Location: Hendrix Student Center Ballroom B
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Local Black History Exhibit 

This exhibit will celebrate the contributions and history of Black people in the City of Clemson, City of Seneca, and Clemson University.  
Location: Cooper Library  
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Food Trucks and Vendors  

Featured foods will include vegan, dessert, and barbecue options. 
Location: Bryan Circle near Schilletter Dining Hall
Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Author Presentation and Book Signing Schedule 

Location: Hendrix Student Center Meeting Room A

11 – 11:30 a.m.: Sonia Leverette/Brittney Brackett 
11:30 – 11:50 a.m.: Moody Black 
12 – 12:20 p.m.: Carl Sharperson 
12:30 – 12:50 p.m.: Glenis Redmond 
1 – 1:20: p.m. Rhondda Thomas 
1:30 – 1:50 p.m.: Marlanda Dekine 
2 – 2:20 p.m.: Len Lawson 
2:30 – 2:50 p.m.: Jennifer Bartell Boykin 


Virtual Tour of Woodland Cemetery and African American Burial Ground 

Location: Cooper Library History Room (left-hand side of fourth floor–the floor you enter on)
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Call My Name Campus Walking Tour (weather permitting)

Learn about sites associated with Black history on the Clemson University campus. 
Location: Meet at Old Main (Tillman Hall) 
Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.