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Honoring Juneteenth with music and history

Poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Gibson, J. W. (John William) / Wikimedia Commons
Suffragist and poet Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

When the Shriver Hall Concert Series, Carnegie Hall and others asked Morgan State Professor James Lee III to compose a new work, he thought of the 19th-century African-American writer Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who struggled for racial and gender equity; he chose her poem, A Double Standard

On Juneteenth, soprano Karen Slack will sing Lee’s new music in its Baltimore premiere. She says of the poem, “With all of the various movements, and, you know, MeToo, and all of these things, we’re in this time right now. The poem is not outdated whatsoever in how women are always trying to push the boundaries of sexism.”

Plus, Clay Washington, the president of the Kennard Alumni Association, recounts the roots of the Kennard African-American Cultural Heritage Center in Queen Anne’s County, and its Juneteenth festival on Saturday, June 11th. Additionally, on Sunday, June 19th, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture will celebrate traditional Juneteenth and Father’s Day with free admission and special events.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maddie is WYPR’s Digital Communications Associate, helping with all things digital for the station. She is a recent graduate of Fordham University where she studied Communications and Economics. Maddie started in public radio during her time at Fordham at 90.7 FM WFUV, New York’s music discovery station. She produced the weekly radio show/podcast Cityscape, an exploration of the people, places, and spirit of New York City. She also produced two award-winning audio documentaries for WFUV, Back to the Garden: Remembering Woodstock and You Should Know Their Names.