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June 16: Unveiling of Preston Jackson sculpture to precede Juneteenth event

Artist Preston Jackson and his new sculpture, commissioned by the CLC Gallery of Art, will be unveiled at the Lakeshore Campus prior to Juneteenth at 11 a.m. on June 16.

Artist Preston Jackson and his new sculpture, commissioned by the CLC Gallery of Art, will be unveiled at the Lakeshore Campus prior to Juneteenth at 11 a.m. on June 16.

The community is invited to attend the unveiling of a new sculpture commissioned by the College of Lake County’s Robert T. Wright Community Gallery of Art in commemoration of Lake County’s role in the Underground Railroad. The unveiling will occur at a ceremony at 11 a.m. in the lobby of the 33 N. Genesee St. building on CLC’s Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan. The June 16 event will precede the 9th annual Juneteenth Conference and Festival, which will be held from noon to 6 p.m. in the courtyard adjacent to the Lakeshore Campus.

The Preston Jackson bronze, titled “Passages to Freedom,” depicts a man, woman and child fleeing to a safe stop on the Underground Railroad. Jackson researched the subject by reading a history of Lake County’s role in the Underground Railroad written by the late James Dorsey, a CLC sociology professor.

In 2009, Jackson exhibited his sculptures at the CLC art gallery to rave reviews, and a year ago, the work was commissioned. Funds for the project come from proceeds of sales of artwork in the gallery and the ARTcetera store. The artist, Preston Jackson, will speak after the unveiling. This event is free and open to the public. Jackson was distinguished as a 1998 Laureate of Lincoln Academy of Illinois. He is a professor of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

“Jackson is an amazingly prolific artist and his work is varied and wide-ranging, often examining our collective past and present in an historical and philosophical sense,” said Steve Jones, CLC art gallery curator. “We thought he was a terrific choice to create a major piece for the Lakeshore Campus, and he was very excited about doing it.”

CLC Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Anderson will preside at the unveiling ceremony.

After the unveiling, the community is invited to the 9th Annual Juneteenth Conference and Festival and the 14th Annual Back to School Festival, being held from noon to 6 p.m. on Madison Avenue (between County Street and Sheridan Road in downtown Waukegan).

Juneteenth represents the joy of freedom and is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the ending of slavery. The 9th Annual Juneteenth celebration will focus on “The Underground Railroad: Connections Through Community.” It will also celebrate African American contributions to art, education, music and dance; family; community; culture; and Lake County’s contribution to the spirit of the abolition movement. There will be inspiring speeches, food, information and merchandise vendors, main stage performances, children’s activities, the CLC history tent and more. There is no admission fee.

Juneteenth will begin with the traditional African Opening Ceremony at noon. From noon to 3 p.m., a variety of speakers will be featured. The keynote address will be given by Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a constitutional law professor at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She is the author of “Race, Law and American Society 1607 – Present” and “The U.S. Constitution: An African American Context.” As director and founder of the Law and Policy Group, she oversees publication of the Report on the Status of Black Women and Girls®, the only ongoing national report on the state of black females in America. Browne-Marshall is also an award-winning playwright, freelance journalist and recipient of the 2009 Ida B. Wells-Barnett Justice Award.

Also appearing will be Kathryn Harris of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum portraying Harriet Tubman; Glennette Tilley Turner, author of “The Underground Railroad in Illinois;” Dr. Sandra LeConte, singing music of the underground and Rowe Niodior African Dance Company of Detroit.

Other activities include a Father of the Year Contest, Juneteenth Awards, giving out 2,000 book bags with educational supplies, Kids’ Korner with free snow cones and activities (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Rosalind Franklin University Community Care Connections Mobile Unit (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), CLC Mini Open House (1-3 p.m.), free food and the Juneteenth Marketplace and Expo (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

For more information, call (847) 543-2191.

Juneteenth is sponsored by the Juneteenth Cultural Committee, the College of Lake County, the City of Miracles International, Trinity Universal Center, Waukegan Public Library, the Marriott, Target, Vista Health System, Waukegan Housing Authority, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Movement International, First Midwest Bank, States Attorney Mike Nerheim and others.

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