Credit: Photo by Loren Holmes/Anchorage Daily News
Nariyah Morgan, 9, and Janya Evans, 14, perform a dance with Sankofa Dance Theater at Juneteenth in Anchorage, 2020
Each year, Alaskans join millions around the country on June 19, or Juneteenth, to recognize Black freedom. The roots of the holiday reach back to the Civil War’s conclusion in 1865. Over two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers marched on Galveston, Texas, to spread word of liberation and an end to the war to those still enslaved. In the 156 years since, Juneteenth has emerged as an occasion to celebrate freedom, gather with friends for a barbeque, or convene at Anchorage’s downtown Park Strip or other locations to enjoy a day of festivities.
Sankofa Dance Theater was established in 2017 and teaches students of all ages African dance and cultural creative arts, including art, music, and literary works. The dancers in this photo are part of Sankofa’s Watoto Tribe, named for the Swahili word for children.