Third annual Juneteenth celebration in Potsdam

News release

POTSDAM, NY – The third annual Potsdam community-wide Juneteenth Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 18 from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Ives Park Gazebo, behind the Clarkson Inn at 1 Main St. in Potsdam.  All are invited to attend.

The Juneteenth Celebration Organizing Committee will present this family-friendly event that celebrates the culture of African-Americans and provides a space for Black voices to be honored.

A free meal consisting of heritage-rich foods traditional to Juneteenth will be catered by Big Spoon Kitchen. All are welcome to bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket and enjoy good food, entertainment and presentations, music with DJ Todd, drumming, dancing, and fun for all ages. All Are Welcome The public is invited to learn about Juneteenth, African-American culture, and local history through entertainment and brief historical presentations. There will be an excerpt from a play by local playwright Elain Kuracina, ‘Curios and Crinolines’, about the conversations between Frederick Douglass and John Brown leading up to Harper’s Ferry. Local Historian Bryan Thompson will recount our local history as concerns the Anti-Slavery Movement in Potsdam and the region. A Native American Land Acknowledgement will open the event at 4:00 p.m. The program and events include many children’s activities, including a Story Walk in conjunction with the Potsdam Public Library, and a Black Is Beautiful Fashion Show, featuring Dads for the Father’s Day holiday the next day. Additionally, everyone likes a little Electric Slide! A raffle will feature items from the Potsdam Food Co-op, Coakley’s Home Hardware, 5 Guys, BB’s Bargains, Village Diner, The Third Wheel Pottery and more. Offerings will also include lovely African art. Additional in-kind support comes from Price Chopper, Great Northern Printing, AsyncArts, the St. Lawrence Arts Council for an artist search, Trinity Church, and Squeak Creek Apiaries.

There is no cost to attend the event, but a Go Fund Me page for donations has been set up at the webpage https://gofund.me/e0753449. Volunteers to help that day are also welcome and can sign up at the webpage: https://forms.gle/jGAGTuZFBR7THyWm6.

A Rich History

Juneteenth is Freedom Day for African-Americans, a celebration to mark the day when the last remaining American slaves learned they were finally free from bondage.

Civil War Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 to inform the Texas slaves they were to be freed, nearly two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

African Americans across our nation now celebrate “Juneteenth”, a combining of June and nineteenth, to honor their ancestors’ sacrifice and in hope for a more equitable future.

Talent Sought

The Juneteenth Committee extends an invitation to artists (spoken, dance, visual, music, etc.), educators or storytellers interested in sharing their talent or education relevant to Juneteenth and the African-American experience to join the celebration. It is not too late to participate in this year’s Program of events; contact PotsdamJuneteenth@gmail.com. The Facebook page for the event can be found at www.facebook.com/events/326836509423313, or @PotsdamJuneteenthCelebration. A rain location will be announced there if needed.