A panel of scholars will be invited to explore the origins of Juneteenth through the lens of federal vs states' rights and discuss the historical and current political significance of the holiday. Panelists: Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University; Imani Perry, Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University; Annette Cordon-Reed, Carl M. Loeb University Professor of History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University and Kevin Young, Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture who will moderate.

Annette Gordon-Reed is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard University. Author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Gordon-Reed was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011 and was a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.


  • Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemings: American Controversy (University of Virginia 1998)
  • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (Norton 2009)
  • Andrew Johnson (Times Books, 2011)
  • On Juneteenth (Liveright, 2021)

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is a scholar of law, literary and cultural studies, and an author of creative nonfiction. Her writing and scholarship primarily focuses on the history of Black thought, art, and imagination crafted in response to, and resistance against, the social, political and legal realities of domination in the West.


  • Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Duke University Press, 2004)
  • More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (NYU Press, 2011)
  • May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem (The University of North Carolina Press, 2018)
  • Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (Beacon Press, 2018)
  • Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation (Duke University Press, 2018)
  • Breathe: A Letter to My Sons (Beacon Press, 2019)

Jelani Cobb, the Ira. A. Lipman Professor of Journalism Columbia Journalism School, writes frequently about race, politics, history and culture. He has contributed to The New Yorker since 2012 and has been a staff writer since 2015. He is the recipient of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis writing.


  • The Devil and Dave Chappelle and Other Essays (Thunder’s Mouth Press 2007)
  • To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (NYU Press, 2007)
  • The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress (Reissued with new introduction, Bloomsbury Publishing 2020)
  • The Essential Kerner Commission Report (Liveright, July 2021)
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