DuSable Museum Juneteenth: Facility changes name, branding ahead of holiday

DuSable is the oldest independent US Black museum

ByBlanca Rios WLS logo
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The DuSable Museum of African American History in Hyde Park was founded in 1961, years ago by husband and wife Dr. Margaret Taylor Burroghs and Charles Burroughs.

The oldest independent Black museum in the United States, it was originally named the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art. That later changed to honor Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the Haitian-born founder of Chicago

And now, 60 years later, it's undergoing another name change.

WATCH: Our Chicago: DuSable Museum changes name, branding Part 1

It's now the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center.

RELATED: Chance the Rapper hosting Juneteenth BBQ Block Party at DuSable Museum

"We have to change with the times; we want to be intentional and deliberate about naming and being called what we do, which is education," said Dr. Kim Dulaney, the museum's vice president of education and programming. "We know who control the narratives control how people understand the world. And so (we're) just adding education center to our title because that's the work we do."

They also unveiled a new logo on Saturday that's centered around the nickname "The Du," as in "Do something, do history, do freedom, the Du," Dulaney said.

WATCH: Our Chicago: DuSable Museum changes name, branding Part 2

Evolution of the celebration, observance of Juneteenth

Juneteenth, June 19, 1865 is known to some as the country's second Independence Day. It commemorates the end of slavery.

It's been celebrated by African American communities across the country for 150 years, but it's the country's newest federal holiday .

President Joe Biden signed a bill into law last year that officially designates Juneteenth be observed each year on June 19. And Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation last year that made Juneteenth a paid state holiday in Illinois.

But historians want to make sure the message is not lost.

"We just want to make sure that people remember the reason for the holiday so it's not commercialized or just made to be another fun day off work," said Dulaney. "We want to make sure that people understand that's the day that people of African descent who were being held in bondage and slavery were told that they were free."

The museum holds several informative series about Juneteenth and has several artifacts including the original document that General Gordon Granger issued, called General Order No. 3, which informed the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free.

"As an education center and as a people in charge of the narrative, we want to make sure that the reason for the day isn't lost." said Dulaney. "We're celebrating, but we're also educating people and teaching about what that day is really about."