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On June 19th in 1865,  slavery ended in Texas. Juneteenth is now a national holiday so that everyone, not just Texans, can celebrate the end of slavery and bring the story of enslaved people into closer focus. Our speakers are experts on the meaning of this holiday and how the legacy of Juneteenth shaped today’s world and will help us build something better tomorrow.

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Annette Gordon-Reed

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author of On Juneteenth | Harvard Professor | MacArthur Genius

The first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for History, her work directly helped to establish Juneteenth as a holiday. The New York Times called her “one of the most astute, insightful, and forthright historians of this generation.”  

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Creator of The 1619 Project | Executive Producer of the 1619 Project Hulu Docuseries | MacArthur Genius

One of TIME ’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, her work on The 1619 Project—in which she explores the impact of slavery on African-American life—is changing the way we think about history and ourselves.


Minnijean Brown-Trickey

Civil Rights Legend Who Helped Desegregate Public Schools

In 1957, Minnijean Brown-Trickey changed history by striding through the front doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. As a member of the Little Rock Nine, she helped desegregate public schools—a milestone in civil rights history—and alter the course of education in America.

Heather McGhee

Author of New York Times Bestseller The Sum of Us

One of the most brilliant and influential thinkers exploring inequality today, her viral TED talk and instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us reveal the devastating true cost of racism—not just for people of color, but for everyone.


Michelle Coles

Civil Rights Attorney | Award-Winning Author of Black Was the Ink | Former attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice

How can we use the stories of unsung Black heroes to inspire the next generation of leaders? Michelle Coles is uniquely suited to answer this question. She bridges our past and our hoped-for future: a civil rights attorney with a focus on social justice, she’s also written an award-winning YA novel that sheds light on the heroic but forgotten contributions of Black people in American history.


Angela Davis

Legendary Human Rights Activist

Angela is an international legend for her work to combat all forms of oppression in America and abroad. Her work as an educator emphasizes the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender equality. 

Jelani Cobb

New Yorker Staff Writer | Columbia Journalism School Dean | Speaker on Race, History, Politics and Culture in America

The rigor and depth of a professional historian, the alertness of a reporter, the literary flair of a fine writer—all in the service of fighting for racial justice and a better America.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School | Co-Host of Some of My Best Friends Are | Author of The Condemnation of Blackness

Featured in Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated film 13th, he is one of the most influential authorities on racial justice in America—candidly exploring the intricacies and absurdities of race.

Anthony Jack

Assistant Prof. of Ed. at Harvard University | Author of The Privileged Poor

Equality shapes not just how students get to college, but how they make it through. It’s time to do better for the next generation.