The Legacy Foundation Celebrates Education at Its Juneteenth Gala

The Legacy Foundation is hosting its second Juneteenth Gala at Tokyo American Club on June 17, with this year’s event celebrating the significance of education for African-Americans following the ending of slavery.

The theme of the gala is “Seeds of Hope,” which ties in with the foundation’s ambitions to educate, celebrate, and share the spirit of Juneteenth with the African-American community’s global family, said LaTonya Whitaker, founder of both the Legacy Foundation Japan and the Soul Food House restaurant in Azabu-Juban.

“The gala will recognize the importance that education played following the abolition of slavery and acknowledge the difficulties that the African-American community faced but the achievements they made thanks to education,” said Whitaker, who is originally from the community of Farrell, in northwest Mississippi.

“We also want to show how the African-American community has had to fight and strive for education,” she added.

2023 Second Annual Juneteenth Gala Tickets 

Juneteenth is observed as a federal holiday across the United States on June 19 to mark the official end of slavery. The holiday celebrates the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger issued an order that proclaimed the freedom of slaves in Texas.

A Grand Gathering 

The gala will honor the contributions of Rosenwald Schools, Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the Divine Nine Fraternities and Sororities as major contributors to education for African-Americans.

For this year’s event, HBCU Coahoma Community College Concert Choir will travel to Tokyo to perform the music that has accompanied the stories of overcoming the challenges of obtaining education for African-Americans. The success of these “spirituals” has even been credited with saving Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, from closing due to a lack of financial support, Whitaker pointed out.

The choir has a wide repertoire and performs works by Adolphus Hailstork, Robert Shaw, John Rutter, and Eric Whitacre.

American-Japanese J-pop singer Aisha will also be a special guest performer at the event, with organizers keeping other special attendees a closely guarded secret.

The Legacy Foundation is a social professional network that was founded in January 2020 and established as a General Incorporated Association the following year. The organization’s mission is to connect, invest in, and empower African-Americans and people of African descent in Japan.

It also aims to build and strengthen the identity of people of African descent, and equip communities with the knowledge, tools, and connections needed not only to survive, but to thrive and create a legacy of success in Japan and around the world.

The foundation’s most recent initiatives include the creation of the Black Business Directory Japan, a number of local community outreach programs to build new bonds and networks, and the cultural hub that is the Legacy Lounge. It also operates a business mentorship program.

For more information, including about attending the 2023 Juneteenth Gala, visit


Juneteenth Gala video: 


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