Kumbayah, Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic sponsors ‘Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story’

May 22, 2023

“Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story” is a two-act play that explores the story of Juneteenth, a day celebrated by African Americans as Independence Day. The play will be presented on June 22 in Rochester.

Mayo Clinic, in collaboration with the Rochester Branch of the NAACP and Rochester Public Schools, will sponsor a showing of “Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story” on June 22, from 7–9 p.m. CDT. The event will be held at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

The two-act play explores the story of Juneteenth — short for “June Nineteenth” — and is celebrated on June 19 each year to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S.

On June 19, 1865, after the Civil War had ended, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to share the news that the war was over, and slaves had been freed. This was 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, declaring that on Jan. 1, 1863, the more than 3 million slaves held in Confederate territory were free.

For African Americans, Juneteenth is celebrated as Independence Day.

About the play

“Kumbayah: The Juneteenth Story,” is written by Rose McGee, and is a production of the Minnesota Humanities Center and Sweet Potato Comfort Pie, an organization committed to advancing racial justice and equity.

The story begins with a prologue set in the early 1800s in a small West African village where a young mother and her small son are being abducted from their home by slave catchers. Act One is set in the present time in a popular North Minneapolis soul-food restaurant where a group of youth and adults ultimately end up discussing what Juneteenth means. Before long, they all agree to attend a play about Juneteenth. The story then shifts into 1863 on the Turner Plantation in Tyler, Texas, with the character Frederick Douglass as narrator.

The event is free, but registration is required at https://www.mnhum.org/