Dear Tulane Community:

Our national holidays encourage us to connect with our communities, reflect on our history and look ahead with optimism for the future. This coming Monday, Tulanians will do all of these things as we celebrate Juneteenth Independence Day.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865, the date when the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas and formally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, liberating over 250,000 enslaved Black Americans. Over time, Juneteenth became a powerful symbol of freedom and hope.

Juneteenth prompts us to consider what freedom means in the context of the present day. It is both a celebration and moment to recognize how far we have come as a nation, and how far we have yet to go. The measure of our progress is linked to our willingness to examine our past.

Through the work of the Tulane History Project, we are continuing to explore the impacts of slavery, segregation and racial inequity on our institution’s past. Under the leadership of Dr. Marcia Walker-McWilliams, the History Project is building on existing research by Tulane faculty, students and staff to conduct a deep, honest and rigorous historical study of Tulane from its founding as the Medical College of Louisiana in 1834 to the present.

To this end, I am pleased to announce that we have joined Universities Studying Slavery (USS), a consortium of over 90 institutions worldwide. The member schools of this consortium will collaborate and share best practices as they work toward building truly equitable institutions. Our membership in this consortium will provide valuable resources and support for the work of the Tulane History Project.

At Tulane, we know that knowledge shared has the power to uplift and liberate. This is why one of our core values is pursuing knowledge for the greater good. As we celebrate Juneteenth, let’s also acknowledge those within and beyond the Tulane community who dedicate themselves and their scholarship to empowering others.