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June 7, 2024 10 mins
Together with Forum Philly, the Penn Museum is hosting its inaugural Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 15—ahead of the official holiday—and admission is free for everyone. (Time: 10:00 am-4:00 pm)  This family-friendly celebration marks the importance of June 19, 1865, commemorating the emancipation of all enslaved people in the United States. In consultation with our community partner, Forum Philly, the Penn Museum's goal is to co-create an event that is accessible, educational, and impactful. To tell us more I speak to Philly Forum Founding President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Malcolm T. Byrd 

Another important Juneteenth event  -  the African American Children’s Book Project (AACBP) is proud to present Juneteenth - Celebrating Literary and Artistic Freedom. This special program, moderated by AACBP founder Vanesse J. Lloyd-Sgambati, will feature award-winning author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and documentary producer Donna Limerick. Together, they will explore the literary and artistic achievements of Black Americans since the Emancipation Proclamation, and the life and legacy of Mae Reeves (1912-2016), a renowned hat designer, successful entrepreneur, and community activist. Free books will be distributed at the event that takes Place Saturday June 15th at 1 pm at the Athenaeum of Philadephia  219 S. 6th Street, Philadephia, PA 19106.
Juneteenth: Celebrating Literary and Artistic Freedom
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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Good morning, and welcome to Insight, a show about empowering our community.
I'm Lorraine Ballad. Morrow, we'lltell you about the Right to Read campaign
and its use of the Freedom Schoolsong from the Civil Rights sixties, a
great June teenth event celebrating literary andartistic freedom. We'll also talk about shine
the Light on Sickle Cell Day anda song with positive lyrics from activist Mazzi

Kasher. First Forum Philly promote spiritualwellness, economic viability, civic interest,
social stability, and political equity orAfrican Americans. They are sponsoring an event
that's coming up in partnership with PennMuseum. It's Forum Phillies Juneteenth Honors Program
on Saturday, June fifteenth, fromtwo to four and joining us to tell

us all about it. As foundingPresident and Chief executive Officer, Doctor Malcolm
T. Byird, a respected publictheologian with more than forty years of professional
experience and leadership in the civic center, local government, and so much more.
And I'm so glad to see youagain. I got a little bit
of a summary of what Forum Phillyis, but give us a few more
details about how you accomplish some ofthe things that I just mentioned. Well,

thank you first, Lorraine so muchfor the opportunity to share with you
about our work, specifically around juteen. Forum Philly utilizes a public educational platform
and context to bring increase the awarenessaround critical issues of importance and significance to
African Americans, and then we attemptto act upon those issues by offering forms

that are educational and engaging in nature, whether it's looking at health equity issues,
racial understanding, voter awareness and education, appreciation for the accomplishment of doctor
King and the civil rights movement,looking at economic and workforce development issues,
and perhaps one of the most significantlinchpins for us is the work we do

around the observance and appreciation of Juneteenth. Well, Juneteenth is a very important
day. It is the day inwhich formerly enslaved Africans in Texas I believe,
were informed after way after the EmancipationProclamation, and so that has become
a very important day and now anational holiday. So tell us how are

you Forum Philly planning to mark thisoccasion. June TPS is a very significant
day in our organization and in thelarger community. What Forum Philly has done
for several years is attempted to buildawareness and appreciation of Juneteenth, not only
from a historic point of view interms of historical significance, but from a

civic point of view as well asit informs and shapes our regard for fellow
human beings. When we embrace libertyand freedom and equity and dignity of everyone,
and when we resist oppression and injustice, we ensure that the atrocities of
slavery will never happen again. Sowhat Forum Philly has done for these several

years is to promote and facilitate Juneteenth programming in our local school districts and
individual schools by promoting student faculty supervised, school based June teenth programming prior to
the adjourning of school during summer.And the rationale is is that June teen

normally calendars on June the nineteenth,which is well beyond the calendar or in
session period for most public schools.So what we've done to incentivize schools is
to provide activity and planning grants thattake place before the end of the school
year, and then we host aculminating Juneteenth Honors program in partnership with Penn

Museum located at thirty second hundred SouthStreet, and this year we are having
a full day of free activities atthe museum, beginning at ten am and
continuing to the conclusion of our honorsprogram that's scheduled for two PM. And
we're very appreciative that you've agreed toserve as our mistress of ceremonies for that

program. We'll have a keynote addressby the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Secretary of Education,
doctor Keela Newman, because it isimportant that young people are educated to the
history of our nation, that they'reable to embrace its significance and then again
appreciate the civic and cultural significance ofit. June teenth is not simply a

holiday dedicated to an isolated minority,but rather Juneteenth is an American holiday that
as more Americans embrace it, westand for what is just and equal and
fair, and it reduces the possibilityof the reoccurrence of slavery. Again,
we're excited about the programming. We'reso appreciative of the penn Museum and bringing

all of its resources available to dothis. And I need to note that
this is uncharacteristic of an institution ofthe size and caliber of University Penn to
put all of its resources and flipforward in promoting June Team. Not as
a commercial endeavor or as a promotionalendeavor, but they earnestly believe in the

personhood and the significance of every Americanand this is their way of positively affirming
and communicating that. So we're prayingthat we see lots of Philadelphians there on
site at the Penn Museum on Saturday, June fifteenth, beginning at ten am
and continuing through four and again ourvery special program, the Honors Program will

begin at two pm under your carefulguidance and leadership, and we are just
so excited. Doctor Malcolm Bird,founding President and chief executive Officer for Forum
Philly, thank you so much forjoining us today. Thank you and God
bless you. There are so manywonderful events that are happening to mark Juneteenth,

not the least of which is Juneteen celebrating literary and artistic freedom that
is being sponsored by the African AmericanChildren's Book Project sponsored by Vaness Lloyd's Gumbody,
and it's featuring award winning author Olabemy, Sola Rude Perkovich and documentary producer
Donna Limerick. And joining us rightnow is Donna Limerick. Hello, how
are you today? Well, goodafternoon, Lorraine. Thank you for inviting

me to chat with you today.One of my favorite stations as an ex
Philadelphian. Yes, well, we'redelighted to have you. And let's talk
about May Reeves. That was yourmom? Yeah, it Reeves is my
mom and she was an extraordinary personwho really made her mark in Philadelphia.
Tell us about her. And she'salso featured in a book written by Olabemi

Sola. Is that right? Mymother is now a Philadelphia pioneer. The
short version of her story is anineteen forty when she was only twenty eight
years old, she received a fivehundred dollars own from the citizen in Southern
Bank, which was in South Philadelphia, and walked down the street, found
a shop and became the first AfricanAmerican woman or one of them, to

own a business in downtown Philadelphia.And she was well known for her extraordinary
hats Is that right? Yeah?Yeah, her extraordinary hats turbans. Some
of her famous celebrity people were AllaFitzgerald, Lena Horne, Marian Anderson,
all the socialite Philadelphians, the Annenberg, the Kelly family. I didn't know

it at the time, but shewas a trend setting at designer, entrepreneur,
and community activist. Well, tellus about you. You are a
documentary filmmaker. Tell us about yourself. Yes, actually, I am a
documentary radio producer and I started mycareer at WHYY in Philadelphia, and eventually,
after a few years there, leftand went to National Public Radio to

become head of their documentary department forfifteen years. Wow, those years.
I had no idea my mother wassuch a celebrity. I interviewed many people
worldwide, and it wasn't until themuseum came in two thousand and nine,
the Smithsonian's National Museum of African AmericanHistory and Culture came to her hatshop,

looked around and said, we wantthe entire hatshop at forty one More sixty
Year Street in West Philadelphia. We'regoing to bring it to the museum and
recreate it on the third floor asa permanent exhibit. That must be spectacular,
where you have the most gorgeous turbanonLike daughter, like mother, you
have a great love I see ofhats and turbans and also what's really cool

is that Olabemi Sola has written achildren's picture book called Me Makes a Way,
the true story of may Reeve's Hatand History Maker. Must have been
really cool to see this children's bookin your mom's life, you know,
not only to see it, butto be a contributor. Because of my
work as a journalist. Zay askedif I would participate making sure, you

know, all the facts were strayed, and the pictures and the illustrations and
all. And Olobimi Sola and Andreadid a wonderful job making this a wonderful
children's book, not only for yourchildren. But when we do book signings,
women actually come and I say whodo you want to make this out
to? And they say me andmy sister and my grandmother. And it's
so delightful that at this event thatVanessa has put together, children will receive

a free book at the event onJune fifteenth. That's fantastic. So again,
tell us more specifically it is actuallyhappening on June fifteenth, what time
and where the event is happening onthe fifteenth of June. It is again
juneteenth, celebrating literary and artistic freedom, What time is it going to be

happening, and where it's going tobe On Saturday, June fifteenth, from
one to three pm at the Antietamof Philadelphia to nineteen South sixth Street.
We will be giving away free booksand the name of the book is May
Makes a Way, The True Storyof May Reeves, hat and history maker.
And I will be there telling mestory and the book author will talk

about the book fantastic well. Welook forward to this event on the fifteenth,
sponsored by the African American Children's BookProject. Thank you so much to
Donnal Limerick. You are a documentaryradio documentary maker and also the daughter of
the extraordinary May Reeves. And wehave the author of a book featuring Mae

Reeves, Ola Buomi Sola Rude Perkovich. I love that name. I can
say it ten times real fast.It just flows like music. We appreciate
you taking the time. Thank youso much, and see you on the
fifteenth. Thank you, I'll bethere. Thank you for having me.
We'll have more insight after these messages
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