Juneteenth: This Saturday at Saint-Gaudens
And June 19 at Colburn Park in Lebanon NH, with red velvet cake; WRJ on June 18
Juneteenth—June 19th—is the newest federal holiday, signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021. Prior to becoming an official federal holiday, it had been celebrated annually in various parts of the United States since 1865. Juneteenth commemorates a proclamation, signed on June 19, 1865, of freedom for enslaved Black people in Texas, which was the last remaining state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.
Juneteenth celebrations are beginning early in the Upper Valley with a program on Saturday, June 11 at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park in Cornish NH, part of a statewide series of events by Black Heritage Trail NH.
A schedule of events at Saint-Gaudens (free with admission) includes:
Sculpting Their Place in History: African American Women and their Contributions to the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial at 11:30am
Dana Green, Ph.D. candidate in history at Morgan State University and the park’s Public History and Art Fellow hopes to broaden popular understanding of the militaristic Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Green considers the often-overlooked contributions of African American women in supporting the first northern regiment of African American troops in the Civil War.
African Americans and the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial Unveiling at 1pm
A lecture by Kathryn Grover, independent historian and author of “To Heal the Wounded Nation’s Life: African Americans and the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Massachusetts Regiment Memorial.” According to Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the veterans of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment “consecrated” his work of art when the Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial was unveiled in 1897. Grover describes the power of this living commemoration and its importance in historical context.
Saint-Gaudens’ Farragut and the Untold Story of Early Self-Emancipation at 2pm
Rolf Diamant, former National Park superintendent and currently adjunct associate professor of history at the University of Vermont, will discuss Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ monument to Admiral David Farragut and the relationship of Farragut’s actions to the advent of large-scale self-emancipation during the Civil War.
Further information about the Juneteenth program at Saint-Gaudens can be found here. To learn about admission fees to the Park, click here.
Ah, red punch and red velvet cake: In another upcoming event, the City of Lebanon via its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission invites the community to celebrate Juneteenth on the actual holiday date of June 19 in Colburn Park beginning at 5:00 p.m.
The program will include musical performances, a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, and a presentation about formerly enslaved people who resided in Lebanon and the abolitionist movement in our community. Traditional red punch and red velvet cake will be served. Please join us on June 19 at 5pm for this very special celebration of freedom!
On the Vermont side of the UV, the Town of Hartford and Hartford Committee on Racial Equity and Inclusion (HCOREI) will host a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Lyman Point Park in White River Junction, VT. The event will feature speakers as well as dramatic readings by JAG Productions.
(Photo, top, via Black Heritage Trail NH. Thanks to Doreen Schweizer for the tip. Because Juneteenth falls on a Sunday in 2022, it will be officially celebrated for federal purposes on Monday, June 20.)
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Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.