Juneteenth Celebrates The Ongoing Fight For Black Liberation

Jun 19, 2020

Gloria Mayo addresses the crowd to speak on the killing of her son, Keith Collins, by the Raleigh Police Department. Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Credit Jade Wilson

Jaki Shelton Green joins us on her birthday to discuss “the wind of freedom” which billows through the North Carolina poet laureate’s new album of verse and song, “The River Speaks of Thirst” (Soul City Sounds/2020). 

Collaborator, jazz singer and six-time Grammy nominee Nnenna Freelon also joins the conversation to discuss the paradox of celebrating a holiday about freedom when liberation remains a continuous process. Documenting that process is essential to maintaining momentum and exposing those who stand in the way of freedom struggles. INDY Week staff photographer Jade Wilson captured the Raleigh demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd. Their photos focus on the emotions of protest — showing the ways unity and confrontation manifest in the gaze and stance between police and demonstrators.

Two protesters listening and expressing their shared pain and anger after many chose to hug and take a knee with police officers. Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
Credit Jade Wilson

Jaki Shelton Green's new album, featuring Nnenna Freelon, Jennifer Evans, Shirlette Ammons, and CJ Suitt.
Credit Soul City Sounds

Wilson talks about the importance of collective memory with host Frank Stasio and Tara Green, professor of women’s and gender studies as well as African American and African diaspora studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Green discusses the ways the history of slavery is warped by modern white supremacy and guilt — and how black authorship can address those injustices. She is the author of “Reimagining the Middle Passage: Black Resistance in Literature, Television, and Song” (Ohio State University Press/2018).

Scalawag and WUNC partnered to present a Juneteenth conversation featuring tracks from "The River Speaks of Thirst."