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June 17, 2021 JUNETEENTH 2021

Honoring the History of Juneteenth: One Family’s Journey to Freedom

Juneteenth marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people in Texas were free. It is important to note that the troops did not arrive until two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

This program tells the story of one family’s journey to freedom and the bigger connection to American history in traveling to their journey of freedom. The special guest presenters for the Juneteenth Celebration Webinar are Bettye Kearse, the award-winning author of The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family; Eduardo Montes-Bradley, the award-winning documentarian who helped capture the visual component of Bettye’s work in the documentary film, The Other Madisons, and Christian Cotz, the CEO of First Amendment Museum in Augusta, ME who spent nearly two decades working at President James Madison’s Montpelier home. The panelists join a moderated discussion by Hon. Adrienne Nelson, Chair of the ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center and Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, on how the themes of the film, especially from a legal lens, connect to broader civil rights issues and the continued importance and relevance of Juneteenth. 

Welcome and Introduction

  • Patricia Lee Refo, President, American Bar Association; Partner, Snell & Wilmer LLP
  • Angela J. Scott, Federal Civil Rights Law Attorney; Chair, ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice



  • Hon. Adrienne Nelson, Justice, Oregon Supreme Court; Chair, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center and Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council


Joint Sponsors: ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic JusticeABA Diversity and Inclusion Center

Co-Sponsors: ABA Antitrust Law SectionABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & ResponsibilitiesABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the ProfessionABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityABA Commission on Women in the ProfessionABA Criminal Justice SectionABA Division for Public EducationABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development LawABA Judicial DivisionABA Law Student DivisionABA Litigation SectionABA Section of State and Local Government LawABA Section of TaxationABA Senior Lawyers DivisionABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, ABA Standing Committee on Public Education, ABA Young Lawyers Division


About the Book | The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President's Black Family Buy HERE

In The Other Madisons, Bettye Kearse—a descendant of an enslaved cook and, according to oral tradition, President James Madison—shares her family story and explores the issues of legacy, race, and the powerful consequences of telling the whole truth. Part personal quest, part testimony, part historical correction, The Other Madisons is the saga of an extraordinary American family told by a griotte in search of the whole story. We invite you to read Bettye's incredible story in preparation for the event. 

About the Documentary | The Other Madisons (The Lost History of a President's Black Family) | Watch HERE

The Other Madisons (The Lost History of a President's Black Family), written and directed by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, is a remarkable contribution to American history, documenting the process by which an oral tradition preserves, with exquisite fidelity, an important social record, in spite of, or perhaps in response to, suppression or neglect by exclusion, and racism. We invite you to screen the documentary ahead of the event.

Transcript: Honoring the History of Juneteenth: One Family’s Journey to Freedom

Celebrating Juneteenth

Black Lawyers in America Toolkit 

Racial Equity in the Justice System

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