Inaugural Juneteenth Joy (tm) Essay

Inaugural Juneteenth Joy (tm) Essay



Simbaa, Lincoln University’s Magazine of the Arts, is published annually in the spring, and features poetry, fiction, essays, art, and photography.  Building on the legacy of Langston Hughes, Melvin Tolson, Larry Neal, and Gil Scott-Heron, Simbaa works to promote, preserve, and progress Lincoln’s rich history of literary achievement. The magazine presents the black student experience as both serious and fun, noble and joyous, giving voice to a community that has been historically underrepresented in mainstream publications.

Amongst many great writings, art and photography, SIMBA Magazine Spring 2024 edition also includes the winner of the Inaugural JUNETEENTH JOY (tm) essay contest, regarding Juneteenth. The winning essay by Cody G. is entitled. "Bittersweet".  Cody's essay will be featured in its entirety in the university's SIMBAA Magazine by end of April 2024. (Link to follow shortly). The Juneteenth Joy, LLC winning students received cash prizes.

We are enthusiastic to share with you some excerpts from Cody, Jaylon D., Nia S., and other talented students who were asked to "reflect on the impact of Juneteenth and their HBCU education".  

We hope that you, your family and friends take a moment to explore your own personal perspectives as to Juneteenth as well.

1st Place:  Cory G. – Bittersweet Juneteenth

 “I have the rare opportunity to attend a learning sanctuary surrounded by like-minded individuals whom I can grow and develop with. I am immersed in an educational community headed by administrators and professors who are invested in my future and well-being.". 

"Juneteenth for me is a chance to reflect on my life and the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with here at Lincoln."

"It is bewildering to me how not even 200 years ago, African Americans could only dream of going to college……."

"….while it is important to celebrate the signing of the declaration of independence and the birth of the United States, it is no secret that, that document didn’t include us. Therefore, we need to celebrate our Independence Day unapologetically and carry on this tradition to future generations."

"Everyone needs to be informed about this country’s past, not to place blame but to educate and prevent cruelties of the past from re-occurring. Above all it (Juneteenth) is a celebration of our independence, liberty and freedom."

2nd Place: JAYLON D. –Juneteenth: A Multifaceted Celebration of Freedom, Education, Citizenship, and Entrepreneurship

"Juneteenth serves as a platform for intergenerational dialogue, cultural preservation, and community solidarity."

"Juneteenth helps to serve as a celebration of Black entrepreneurship, honoring the legacy of pioneering Black business owners and innovators who paved the way for future generations."

"The educational experience at HBCUs like Lincoln University plays a pivotal role in shaping perspectives on liberty, freedom, and responsible citizenship, empowering students to become agents of change in their communities and beyond…."

"By honoring the past, embracing the present, and working towards a more inclusive future, we uphold the principles of freedom, justice and equality that lie at the heart of the American dream.."

3rd Place:  NIA S.-How Juneteenth informs my journey.

"The Ashmun Institute (Later renamed to Lincoln University) was founded in 1854 and played a vital role in the education, emancipation, and triumph of enslaved and formerly enslaved black people in this region."

"….The concept of Lincoln Pride is rooted in particular values stemming from the qualities of the ancestors who fought for what is essentially our contemporary freedom."

The following excerpt refers to Hosanna Meeting Church and the Civil War Veteran Cemetery on the outskirts of the Lincoln University campus "….I ventured to this historic site on the first day of Black History Month and became overwhelmed with emotions at the site of its remains. It was cold outside, dark, the middle of winter and snow clung to the ground…I closed my eyes…someone told me underneath the floorboards within the church were discrete crawl spaces that served as hiding spots for runaways….I quietly recited a small prayer of gratitude to those who stood in the very spot that I was in, for without their determination, bravery and sacrifices, I would not be."

"It wasn’t until I stood on the grounds of the Hosanna Church and Cemetery-where less than two centuries ago, my people stood in anticipation of freedom, that I began to fathom the nature of Lincoln’s enduring spirit truly."



Maison B.- Personal Exploration of Freedom & Expression

"Juneteenth holds profound significance for me in my personal exploration of freedom and expression as a young black woman and a second-generation HBCU student. As I walk the grounds of Lincoln University, the first degree granting HBCU, I am immersed in the University’s rich history, interwoven with struggles and triumphs of my ancestors."

"Walking in the footsteps of pioneers like Nathan Francis Mossel, the first African American to acquire a medical degree (from University of PA following completion of LU undergrad), reminds me of the tenacity and diligence necessary to overcome systematic barriers. Mossel defied the odds and achieved great success in academics, medicine, and activism."

"As a physician, Mossel aimed to remove the hurdles that marginalized communities experience in obtaining proper medical care. In 1895, he established the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training Institution (In Philadelphia), providing medical care and training to African Americans during a period when segregation and prejudice were common in the healthcare system."

"Throughout its history, Lincoln University has functioned as a safe haven and a hub of resistance to slavery. Its campus housed runaway slaves on their way to liberation, giving shelter and assistance to individuals fleeing the miseries of bondage.... The university’s location in southeastern Pennsylvania, an area with a strong abolitionists influence, made it a hub for the Underground Railroad network."

Grace Q.-The Celebratory Nature of Juneteenth

"Although the 4th of July is American Independence Day, some view June 19 th as the country’s second Independence Day."

"The celebratory nature of Juneteenth is significant…beyond cookouts and fireworks….the celebration raises awareness of Americans tragic past. It symbolizes the importance of fighting to preserve and secure a better future for people of color."

"Having an HBCU education has influenced my perspective on liberty, freedom, and responsible citizenship……uneducated slaves made it possible for me and my generation to inherit and gain access to the freedom of education….."

RILEY H. - Celebration of Emancipation

"As a student at Lincoln University, Juneteenth informs my journey and mindset because it is a celebration of my people."

"The leaders here at Lincoln take the history of our school and history of our people very seriously and I love it."

"I have never learned as much about my own history as I have here in my first two semester’s. I love learning the amazing things about the people who came before me and not just the trials and turmoil's"

"…..My people are not enslaved. My people are amazing, smart, and artistic and we have always been. I am amazing. I am smart…."

KATELYN D. - 3 L's. Discovering all of my Blackness through Lincoln University

"Learn Liberate Lead. Those three L’s mean more than the simple definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary. It is revolutionary. My journey as a Lincoln University student while incorporating Juneteenth meant knowing my history in influencing other black brothers and sisters to do the same."

"There are icons like Kwkame Nkrumah who came all the way from Ghana to study at Lincoln University....Thurgood Marshall who studied here and became the first black supreme court justice..".

"My goal with my major is to become an educator back in my hometown in Brooklyn....I want to continue the celebratory nature Lincoln gave me and spread it back to the youth of my community."

'My HBCU taught me that the beautiful west African drums are the soul to soca music in Trinidad.....We learn not only the different ways to emit our melanin into society, but how to show off our melanin instead of proving its worthiness."