(Knoxville, TN) – In recognition of the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States, the public is invited to a Juneteenth Virtual Town Hall Meeting for a discussion on racial justice, on Friday June 19 at 4:00 p.m. and will conclude at 6:00 p.m. This Beck event is proudly supported and sponsored by First Horizon and BB&T | SunTrust Now Truist.

Annually, Beck hosts a series of programs to commemorate Juneteenth including a Town Hall Meeting.  Over the years, the Juneteenth Town Hall Meeting has included a panel of elected officials including members of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators. This year, Beck will host a virtual Juneteenth Town Hall Meeting with a panel consisting of leaders from the black community for a discussion on racial justice. One hundred and fifty-five years after major general Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas to announce that enslaved people were to be freed, we are still wrestling with freedom in every area for black people.

Make plans to join Beck Cultural Exchange Center president and event moderator, Rev. Reneé Kesler, along with our distinguished panelist:

  • Vice Mayor & Sixth District City Councilwoman, Gwen McKenzie
  • Project Grad Knoxville Executive Director/CEO, Vrondelia (Ronni) Chandler
  • Knoxville Branch NAACP President, Rev. Dr. John Butler
  • Knoxville Area Urban League President, Phyllis Nichols
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission Chair, Deborah Porter
  • Community Defense of East TN, Imani Mfalme
  • Police Advisory Review Committee Vice-Chair, Atty. LaKenya Middlebrook, esq.
  • My Brother’s Keeper, Pastor Daryl Arnold
  • aMen Leadership Academy Executive Director, Bishop Kevin Perry
  • Civil Rights Activist & Justice Advocate, Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook,
  • Civil Rights Activist & Justice Advocate, Dr. Theotis Robinson
  • TriStar Summit Medical Center Medical Physician, Dr. Daymond McDuffey, M.D.

In addition to a discussion on racial justice, panelist will address pressing health concerns while organizing amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionally affecting the African American community.

To access the Virtual Juneteenth Town Hall Meeting click the link below and enter the password:
PASSWORD: 472193

Additional telephone options are available and listed below to join the event.

According to Beck President Rev. Reneé Kesler, “We believe that history is the great truth-teller, and the truth is what sets us free. Absent the establishment of places like Beck, today’s history may not exist tomorrow. And, we are in dire need of a lesson in truth. Even through these hard times, Beck will continue to be the keeper of the truth.”



You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jun 19, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Juneteenth Virtual Town Hall Meeting - A Discussion on Racial Justice
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Password: 472193

Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13017158592,,97794419756#,,,,0#,,472193#  or +13126266799,,97794419756#,,,,0#,,472193#

Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 253 215 8782

Webinar ID: 977 9441 9756
Password: 472193
International numbers available: https://discovery.zoom.us/u/abKtOzkRXW

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the union soldiers, led by major general Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863.

Beck is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1975 as a result of Knoxville’s Urban Renewal projects.  The Urban Renewal projects began in 1959 under Title I of the Housing Act of 1949. The projects relocated and displaced many black families and businesses. Much of the heritage of the black community was erased from the map. Except for one or two structures in the city, edifices that once stood as monuments to the struggles of early leaders no longer exist. Absent the establishment of Beck, these places and the people may never have existed.

Beck is the only organization in the region dedicated to local and regional African American history and culture.  Beck is the storehouse of African American history and culture and is designated by the state as a primary repository of black history and culture in East Tennessee.

The Beck Cultural Corridor, beginning with the area commonly known as Urban Renewal, will reclaim history. Reclaiming history is the process of bringing back the past that has been lost or forgotten. Reclamation is the intentional acknowledgment of great people, places and things. Edifices that once stood as monuments to the struggles of early leaders are no longer visible. Many of the people no longer exist; but their story, and their history lives on. We Are Reclaiming African American History and Culture.

Beck is restoring the only remaining ancestral home of one of the greatest modern painters of the twentieth century, Beauford Delaney. The restoration of this historic home, located next door to Beck, will preserve an extraordinary piece of Knoxville history as the future Delaney Museum at Beck.

To be the place where African American history and culture are preserved, nurtured, taught, & continued.

To be the desired place that people go to learn, discover and experience the rich legacy of African Americans inside a vibrant Cultural Corridor, the Beck Cultural Corridor.

Beck is named in honor of James Garfield (1881-1969) and Ethel Benson (1897-1970) Beck. James and Ethel were two of the most glamorous and influential members of the black community in Knoxville during the period of the 1920s-1960s and were the last people to live in the Beck mansion.