“Today, there is no aspect of life in the United States that has not been touched by the African American experience; there is no institution, custom, or daily practice that has not been influenced or remade by the efforts of African American thinkers, workers, artists, activists, and organizers.”
In the 1920s, African American composer William Grant Still envisioned a trilogy of works that eventually emerged as, first, his Symphonic poem “Africa” evoking roots from the continent; second, his “Symphony #1: Afro-American” being life in America up to emancipation and; third, the “Symphony #2: Song of a New Race” as representing the now integrated man, a product and shaper of an integrated society.
2021 marked the first official recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. While celebrations took place over the weekend of June 19th this year, the federal holiday is recognized on Monday June 20th. To mark the day, we’ll air William Grant Still's “Symphony No. 1: Afro-American” at 10:00 am and his “Symphony No. 2: Song of a New Race” for our Midday Masterpiece at 2:00 pm. Plus, at Noon, William Grant Still's Symphony No. 5 "Western Hemisphere" and, throughout the day, music of composers Florence Price, Harry T. Burleigh, Adolphus Hailstork, Jon Batiste, Duke Ellington and more.