Today is Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the official end of slavery on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The message of freedom for enslaved people came late to Texas - more likely on purpose than by chance. It was not until the Union Army arrived to announce - and enforce - the order that people were finally freed from bondage. Galveston, Texas was the first to celebrate that holiday, and today for the first time in American history it becomes a federal holiday.
Although descendants of enslaved people have celebrated the holiday for over a century, this may be the first time you are learning about it. And while Juneteenth is a celebration (one you can join at the events listed below), it is also a commemoration of time spent in unjust bondage and a call to reckon with the history of slavery in this country. To that end, we thought we would take time today to share some resources on slavery in the Hudson Valley, so that everyone can learn that yes, there was slavery in the North, even in your own backyard. Keep scrolling for events, books, documentary films, online exhibits, organizations, and more.
Hudson Valley Juneteenth Events
Harambee Juneteenth Celebration
Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: Pine St. African Burial Ground, Kingston, NY
Join us as celebrate Juneteenth- our African American Independence Day and the Grand Opening of the Pine St. African Burial Ground block party style with music, food, burial ground tours, children's activities and more.
FREE for all ages!
12:00 - Ubaka Hill & POOK – opening ceremony
12:20 – House Blessing by Pastor Hubbie (Pastor Doris Schyler)
12:25 – Burial Ground Ritual - Caru, Shambet, and Miss V; Libation by Rev. Evelyn Clarke
12:55 – Rev. Evelyn Clarke sings "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson)
1:00 – Welcome and Commemorations by Tyrone Wilson - CEO/Founder, Harambee; Julia Farr - Executive Director, Kingston Land Trust; Seth McKee - Executive Director, Scenic Hudson; Dignitaries: Congressman Antonio Delgado, NYS Senator Michelle Hinchey, Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan, Ulster County District Attorney David Clegg, Ulster County Comptroller, March Gallagher, Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa, Mayor Steve Noble
1:30 – The Saints of Swing feat. Miss Renee Bailey
1:55 – Sax legend Eric Person Jazz Quartet
2:15 – New Progressive Baptist Church Choir
2:20 – Vocal Phenom Christopher McDole Jazz Quartet
2:45 – Enchanting Vocalist Ms Marleen Merritt
3:00- Anthropologist Joe Diamond on the PSABG and Honoring Mr. Ed Ford
3:15 – Energy Dance Company
3:30 – POOK
3:55 – Oliver King as Frederick Douglas - “What to a Slave is Your Fourth of July?”
Juneteenth: Passion & Perseverance
Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Location: New Rochelle, NY
9am-11am- Ward Acres Community Garden – 300 Broadfield Road, New Rochelle, NY 10804
• T’ai Chi Workshop
• Councilmember Sara Kaye
• Councilmember Yadira Ramos-Herbert – Juneteenth History
• Historian Barbara Davis – Carpenter Cemetery African American Burial Ground – Presentation
• Thelma Thomas – Storyteller
• Bokandeye African American Dance Theater
• Coffee and Pastries
12 Noon-2pm – New Rochelle City Hall – 515 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10801
• Bokandeye African American Dance Theater – Procession
• Juneteenth Flag Raising
• Lift Every Voice and Sing – Kay Boyd
• Welcome – Stuart Reid, President Board of Directors, The Lincoln Park Conservancy, Inc.
• Invocation – Minister Mark McLean, Pres. New Rochelle Branch NAACP and Pres., Interreligious Council of New Rochelle
Imam Mohamed Shaffieq Chace, Islamic Center of New Rochelle
• Remarks – State, County and Local Officials
• Councilmember Yadira Ramos-Herbert – Juneteenth History
• DJ Smithyboy (Maison Smith) – ALMS Student
• Juneteenth – A Narrative of Freedom – NRCA Rotunda Gallery Exhibit/Opening Reception
• Artist Richela Fabian Morgan – Juneteenth Quilt Workshop
• Solomon Darden and Darrin Greaves - NRHS Spoken Word Artists
• Martin Luther King Awards Ceremony – WestCOP Presentation
• Wayne Henderson Sextet
• Steven Vilsaint – Hip-Hop Dance Performance – Accent Dance NYC
• Lucia Jackson – Jazz Vocalist and Ron Jackson – Acoustic Jazz Musician with Dancers Sarita Apel and Andres Bravo – Accent Dance NYC
• Rocky Middleton Jazz Ensemble
• Benediction – Rev. Wallace Noble, St. Catherine A.M.E.Zion Church and
Rabbi Jessica Fisher, Beth El Synagogue
• Juneteenth Books will be on display at the New Rochelle Public Library
• Food Vendors, PPE Station
3pm – 9pm – Thomas Paine Cottage Museum and Thomas Paine Memorial Building – 20 Sicard Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804
Thomas Paine Cottage Museum Family Activities:
• Arts and Craft Workshop – Creating Juneteenth Flag
• Scavenger Hunt
• Capoeira – Luanda New Rochelle – Performance
• Juneteenth Videos for Kids
• Juneteenth Exhibit and Self-guided Tours
• Juneteenth Desserts
Thomas Paine Memorial Building Activities:
• Freedom Exhibit – Artists Fred Spinowitz and H. Lloyd Weston
• Thomas Paine’s Letter on Slavery – Presentation/Discussion
• The Crossing and the Ten Crucial Days – Songs from the Play
Thomas Paine events conclude with a screening of Soul Food
Information: firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/thelincolnparkconservancy
Juneteenth 2021 Celebrations in New Paltz
Saturday, June 19, 2021 - 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Location: Historic Huguenot Street
81 Huguenot StNew Paltz, NY, 12561
Join us on Saturday, June 19th the Elting Memorial Library and Historic Huguenot Street are teaming up to celebrate Juneteenth!
At 11am, June 19th, a kick off and benediction will be held at the Hasbrouck Park playground. This includes a placard dedication in honor of Julia Jackson, the last surviving enslaved woman to live in New Paltz and a revered historian, storyteller and beloved friend of the community. An important announcement will be made as well. Speakers will include: Mayor Tim Rogers, Rev. Jennifer Berry, New Paltz Town Historian Susan Stessin-Cohn, and Albert Cook with a performance by Resisterhood: New Paltz.
Next, join us at Huguenot Street 3 - 7 PM for live, local music and a family-friendly pot-luck or bring-your-own-picnic lunch on the lawn. Light refreshments will be provided.
Other Hudson Valley Programs Happening on Saturday, June 19, 2021
White Plains Juneteenth Heritage, Inc. - Virtual Juneteenth Celebration
The 2021 theme "Preserving Our Legacy", illustrates the historical commitment of those who came before us and our determination to continue to fulfill their legacy. With that imparted, it is of great importance that we achieve our desired objectives which are to better communicate the history and celebration of Juneteenth, gain greater participation from the overall community, educate our youth in the importance of this historical holiday and strengthen funding so that this celebration will continue to thrive.
This virtual program was held on June 12, 2021 and filmed. The program is available online at the White Plains Juneteenth Heritage, Inc. Facebook page.
Slavery in the Hudson Valley
There are lots of great books, articles, and exhibits to explore to learn more about slavery in the Hudson Valley. Links are to purchase. Check your local library collections to borrow.
Long Hammering: Essays of an African American Presence in the Hudson Valley to the 20th Century by A.J. Williams-Myers. Dr. Wiliams-Myers addresses the integral role that African Americans played in every aspect of Hudson Valley society, which historically is the embryo of New York history.
In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831 by Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini. In Defiance documents 607 fugitives from slavery in the 18th and 19th-century Hudson River Valley region of New York State.
Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America by Myra B. Young Armstead. James F. Brown escaped slavery in Maryland and became a gardener at Mount Gulian in Beacon, NY. Dr. Armstead uses his diary to illuminate his life and the history of slavery and freedom in the Hudson Valley.
Watch Myra Young Armstead's recorded lecture for the Newburgh Free Library.
Peekskill's African American History: A Hudson Valley Community's Untold Story by John C. Curran. Highlighting African American stories in Peekskill from the American Revolution through to Paul Robeson and the Peekskill Riots of 1949 and beyond.
Slavery and Freedom in the Mid-Hudson Valley by Michael E. Groth. Focusing on the struggle for freedom in the central Hudson Valley prior to the Civil War.
The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War by Jonathan Daniel Wells. In a rapidly changing New York, two forces battled for the city's soul: the pro-slavery New Yorkers who kept the illegal slave trade alive and well, and the abolitionists fighting for freedom.
Watch a recording of Jonathan Wells' lecture for HRMM.
The Last Slave Ships: New York and the End of the Middle Passage by John Harris outlines how even after the slave trade was made illegal, merchants based in the United States were still sending hundreds of illegal slave ships from American ports to the African coast.
Watch a recording of John Harris' lecture for HRMM.
"Where Slavery Died Hard," Cragsmoor Historical Society (2018)
Historic Hudson Valley has a whole host of videos on slavery in the North, but this video is a good place to start - "Introduction: Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North."
"Hidden History: Slavery in the Hudson Valley" short film by Vassar College.
The Library at the A.J. Williams-Myers African Roots Center works in the Ponckhockie neighborhood and throughout Kingston with community programs, children’s literacy and after school programs, and more, with hundreds of books available. The African Roots Library partners with the Hudson River Maritime Museum in co-hosting the Conference on Black History in the Hudson Valley. You can learn more and donate at africanrootslibrary.org.
The Underground Railroad Education Center in Albany, NY tells the story of Stephen and Harriet Meyers, the Underground Railroad in New York, and its connections to today. The Underground Railroad Education Center is a new partner in the Conference on Black History in the Hudson Valley. You can learn more and donate at undergroundrailroadhistory.org.
TMI Project: Black Stories Matter, also a conference partner – tmiproject.org/blackstoriesmatter
Harambee and the Pine Street African Burial Ground, also a conference partner – harambeekingstonny.org
The African American Historical Society of Rockland County – aahsmuseum.org
The Mid-Hudson Antislavery History Project – pages.vassar.edu/mhantislaveryhistoryproject
The Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library in Poughkeepsie – africanrootslibrary.tripod.com
This is not a comprehensive list, but will hopefully give you a good foundation on the topic of slavery in the Hudson Valley. To contribute other resources to this list, please add to the History Alliance of Kingston's "Black History Collaborative Research Project." For Black history articles on the Hudson River Maritime Museum blog, explore our Black History category. And if you have a Black history story you would like to tell or research you would like to share, please send a proposal in to the Conference on Black History in the Hudson Valley, held this year on Saturday, October 2, 2021.
This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
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