On June 20 this year, we observe Juneteenth, now a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. It was celebrated first in 1866 in Texas, one year from when African Americans first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation there (signed two years before).
We encourage the Conway School community to identify an opportunity over the coming days to reflect on the history of racism in this country, take actions to actively counter racism, and celebrate African American culture and achievements.
Consider these recommendations:
  • Thursday, June 16, 6-7:30pm: Black Landscape Architects Network virtual Juneteenth Celebration, $15 registration fee. “In honor of Juneteenth, we will celebrate Black landscape histories shared by two scholars – K. Ian Grandison and Whitney Barr, with a discussion moderated by Jasmine Hester. Their work centers on unearthing and amplifying the significance of Black landscapes and provides a timely reading into the hidden narratives that require our attention and understanding. Join us for an evening of reflection, observance, and learning as we engage in discussion and celebrate the Juneteenth holiday.”
  • Netflix Series: The concluding episode of the new documentary series High on the Hog, hosted by Stephen Satterfield, includes a section on Juneteenth and the food traditions associated with its observation.
  • Saturday, June 18, 12pm: Black Writers Read: Poet and Educator Rage Hezekiah, in Greenfield (in person), $5. Founded, produced and hosted by performance poet, playwright, pop culture critic, and philanthropy professional, Nicole M. Young-Martin, Black Writers Read showcases, celebrates, and honors the words, work and traditions of Black writers from across the country, across genres, across experiences and across the African Diaspora.
  • Sunday, June 19, 7-9pm: Songs of Abolition: A Juneteenth Concert Celebration at Historic Deerfield, in-person event in Deerfield, hosted by Historic Deerfield, $10. The concert will include early gospel tunes, music from a new documentary film titled “Songs of Slavery and Emancipation”, songs of the Hutchinson Family (19th century abolitionists who performed locally), and Pioneer Valley shapenote music. Performer and musicologist Tim Eriksen will be the emcee for the evening.
  • Juneteenth Weekend in the Town of Amherstwalking tour on Saturday, June 18, Jubilee on the Common with music, food, and community on Sunday, June 19.
  • Self-guided African American Heritage Walking Tour in Florence, provided by the The David Ruggles Center. The center is also open on Sundays from 12-4, and current exhibits include: David Ruggles: At the Vanguard of Liberty “The Spirit Calls Me There”: Sojourner Truth in Florence, 1844-1857 Lydia Maria Child, Abolitionist People, Places, and Paper: The Underground Railroad in Northampton and Florence (Upcoming:) Finding Freedom in Florence: The Story of Basil Dorsey, A Formerly Enslaved Abolitionist. (Also great by bicycle! Print out a map or download it to your phone).

Do you have additional recommendations? Share them with the Conway community on Facebook!