Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Hampton Roads Celebrates Juneteenth With Multiple Events

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Juneteenth marks the emancipation of thousands of enslaved people. Though President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, it wasn’t until two years later that federal troops arrived in Texas to enforce the proclamation on June 19, 1865, and thousands of enslaved Black men and women in the state finally gained their freedom.

Slavery would not actually come to an end in several other states until after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December of that year.

On June 17, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19 as a national holiday. Several cities in Hampton Roads will be celebrating Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day.

Williamsburg

In observance of Juneteenth, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is offering free admission to the Historic Area and the Art Museums on June 19 from 9am to 4:30pm. This is the first time in the foundation’s history that the entire museum will be open to the public at no cost. Free Colonial Williamsburg admission on June 19 coincides with other Juneteenth programming across the region coordinated by the Juneteenth Community Consortium, an association of organizations throughout Greater Williamsburg that organized in early 2022 with a common goal to educate, commemorate, and celebrate Juneteenth.

Programming highlights on June 19 include Visit with a Nation Builder: a one-woman performance exploring the hopes, choices, and challenges that Edith Cumbo faced in Williamsburg and beyond; Charlton Stage, 11:45am.

A Taste of Freedom: the story of Americus Weston and his journey to freedom; Hennage Auditorium, 1:30pm.

Visit with a Nation Builder: a one-man performance exploring the hopes, choices, and challenges that Gowan Pamphlet faced in Williamsburg and beyond; Charlton Stage, 2:45pm.

My Story My Voice – Sam’s War: a compelling story from the life of an 18th-century person, followed by a conversation with the actor interpreter as they share how they discover and bring to life a voice from the past; Charlton Stage, 4pm.

Family programming includes Loquacious Lucy, Queen for a Day, a play designed to help families discuss slavery with their children; Play House stage, 10:30am, 11:30am, and 12:30pm.

Tours include the Freedom’s Paradox Tour: a 60-minute walking tour that explores the paradox of the institution of slavery and the movement for independence. Peyton Randolph House, noon, 1:45pm, 2:45pm and 3:45pm.

Archaeological site tours will be held from 9:30am to noon and 1pm to 4pm. Bray School Archaeological Project: The Williamsburg Bray School was an 18th-century institution dedicated to the education of enslaved and free Black children in Williamsburg. Archaeologists will discuss work underway to relocate the original Bray School building to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

First Baptist Church Archaeological Site: The First Baptist Church of Williamsburg is one of the country’s earliest African American congregations and was founded by free and enslaved Black worshippers. Visit the site of the congregation’s original structure that Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeologists uncovered in 2021 in partnership with the First Baptist Church of Williamsburg and the Let Freedom Ring Foundation.

Custis Square Archaeological Project: This interdisciplinary archaeological project examines the long-hidden landscapes at Custis Square, the ornamental grounds designed by John Custis IV (1678-1746), and the places where enslaved men and women lived and worked on the property.

Programming locations include Play House Stage: in Historic Area, off Palace Green. Charlton Stage: in Historic Area, behind Charlton Coffeehouse on east end of Duke of Gloucester Street. Hennage Auditorium: inside Art Museums located at 301 S Nassau St. Peyton Randolph House: in Historic Area, at the corner of W. Nicholson and N. England streets. Bray School original site: 107 North Boundary St., outside the Historic Area at the corner of Prince George and Boundary streets. The Historic First Baptist Church – Nassau Street archaeology site: across from the Art Museums lawn on the northwest corner of Nassau and Francis streets. Custis Square archaeology site: to the side of the Art Museums lawn; on the southeast corner of Nassau and Francis streets.

For detailed information about parking as well as interactive and downloadable maps, visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/visit/parking. Tickets are not required for general admission on June 19 to any Historic Area or Art Museums programming typically included in a general admission ticket. Event tickets are still required for events that fall outside of general admission programming, such as carriage rides, evening programs, and the musket range.

York County

York County Public Library invites the public to join genealogist Renate Yarbourough Sanders from 10:30am to 11am on Saturday, June 18, at the Tabb Library or via Zoom to discover how to research and extract data about people of color from various types of documents. For more information, please call 757-890-5120 or visit the library’s Facebook page.

York County is hosting a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, at the McReynolds Athletic Complex, 412 Sports Way. The event runs from 5pm to 8:30pm and features speakers, performers, food truck vendors, and more. It is free and open to the public. Performers scheduled to appear are DJ Freestyle, Marching Elite, Intense Fiyaaaa, and Crimson Thunder.

Following the celebration, visitors are invited to stay for Movies in the Park featuring “Soul,” the hit 2020 Disney Pixar film. The movie begins at 8:45pm. Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended for seating. This event is sponsored by York County, the York-James City-Williamsburg Branch of the NAACP, and the York County Chamber of Commerce.

Hampton

Juneteenth will be commemorated throughout Hampton this month with a lineup of festivals, concerts, discussions, and a community walk. A Day of Remembrance ceremony will also be held to honor those that lost their life during the Middle passage.

Juneteenth: The Fight for Freedom and the Power of Words will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Monday, June 13, at Hampton History Museum, 120 Old Hampton Ln. The event is free and open to the public.

Join playwright Marie St. Clair for this Fragments of Freedom Cultural Arts & Theatre Productions event that showcases spoken word, video, and live music honoring the arc of freedom fought for by African Americans throughout history. A host of speakers from the arts, media, and the government will present excerpts of powerful speeches from historical figures that embody the innate desire for freedom and demand for civil rights.

The event is presented in partnership with the Fort Monroe Authority and Fort Monroe National Monument. The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Ln. There is free parking in the garage across the street from the museum. For more information, call 757-727-1102 or visit hamptonhistorymuseum.org.

Juneteenth Jazz: The Wave of Freedom Concert will be held at 6pm on Saturday, June 18, at Fort Monroe Theatre, 42 Tidball Rd. The event is free and open to the public. Many of the early Juneteenth traditions and celebrations revolved around music, dancing and togetherness. The public is invited to enjoy a soulful evening of music at the Juneteenth Jazz: Wave of Freedom Concert. Sponsored by the Fort Monroe Authority and Fort Monroe National Monument, this dynamic and empowering event honors the legacy of Juneteenth through captivating performances from a variety of local jazz musicians. For more information, call 757-637-7778.

Celebrate Healthcare’s Juneteenth Festival from 11am to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, at Darling Stadium, 4111 Victoria Blvd. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can enjoy a plethora of community-focused activities, including entertainment, health and wellness offerings, a resources fair, and other special attractions. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Rahiem (formerly with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) will be the event’s featured act. United Souls Band, Beauty for Ashes Dance Troupe and Gina J. Payne and “Step Up” Connection will also be performing at this year’s festival.

The Hampton Faith Walk Community Juneteenth Celebration Still Walking for Racial Justice & Equality will be held from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, June 19, at Mill Point Park, 100 Eaton St.

Faith Walk Hampton invites you to their 3rd annual Juneteenth Celebration: Still Walking for Racial Justice & Equality. This event seeks to heal racial injustice in the community. A collective of more than 20 churches throughout the city, local leaders, and others will march from City Hall to Mill Point Park commemorating the holiday. Celebrations include a Father’s Day presentation, juried youth art contest, food trucks, and more will take place after the march. Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck will also read a special proclamation during the event.

Hampton African American Heritage Festival Juneteenth Commemoration will be held from 11am to 10pm on Saturday, June 25, at Mill Point Park, 100 Eaton St., The entrance fee is $10 for adults and children under 12 may attend free of charge.

Sponsored by Project 1619, the Hampton African American Heritage Festival Juneteenth Commemoration will honor the legacy of Juneteenth and the landing of the first enslaved Africans in English North America. Taking place at Mill Point Park, the event includes an African street market that will feature items such as African apparel, arts and crafts, and more for purchase. Additionally, guests can enjoy food vendors, African dancers and drummers, and live entertainment while at the event. A traditional libation ceremony is also scheduled as well as a community paint party.

Newport News

Dignitaries, guests, and members of the community will come together for raising of the Juneteenth Flag, at 1pm on Monday, June 13, with a reading of the Mayoral Proclamation and remarks from guest speaker Dr. Grainger Browning. The event will take place at City Hall, 2400 Washington Ave.

Juneteenth Bingo will be held from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on Tuesday, June 14, at Brittingham-Midtown Community Center, 570 McLawhorne Dr. Attendees will have fun playing bingo, winning prizes, and enjoying refreshments while learning about Juneteenth and why it’s an important part of Unites States history. Registration is required.

A Juneteenth Debate will be held from 6:30pm to 8pm on Wednesday, June 15, at the Denbigh Community Center, 15198 Warwick Blvd. A live debate with community youth will focus on two cases and key decisions that were made by the United States Supreme Court regarding racial segregation. Registration is required.

Juneteenth Spoken Word will be held from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday, June 16, at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, 2410 Wickham Ave. Guests will listen to poetic performances designed for self-expression by local artists and poets on ideas of liberty, freedom, equality, and justice. Registration is required.

Juneteenth Mime: The Faces of Freedom will be held from 7pm to 9pm on Friday, June 17, at the Mariners’ Museum, 100 Museum Dr. Those in attendance will watch silent movement performers enliven the room through dance and music to tell stories of emancipation. Registration is required.

Juneteenth Youth Field and Games will be held from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, June 18, at Riverview Farm Park, 105 City Farm Rd. Youth ages 6-17 can participate in outdoor sporting games while bringing awareness of the four pillars of commemoration (liberty, free, equality, and justice) with a spirit of friendship, unity, and team spirit. Registration is required.

A Juneteenth Historical Pageant will be held from 7pm to 8:30pm, also on Saturday, June 18. The virtual event will be shown on NNTV (Cox Ch. 48/Verizon Ch. 19) and streamed on nnva.gov/NNTV. Viewers will look through the lens of individuals throughout historical periods as they share their views on how the Emancipation Proclamation changed their lives.

Newport News’ Juneteenth Freedom Festival will be held from noon to 4pm on Sunday, June 19, at King-Lincoln Park, 600 Jefferson Ave. The free community festival will feature musical entertainment by the Unifics, food and craft vendors, informational exhibits, and children’s activities.

For more information on Newport News’ Juneteenth events, visit nnva.gov/2663/Juneteenth.

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