Perfect Timing For Juneteenth Message of Freedom
Chesterton Spy, June 23, 2015 — Sweltering heat and threatening storms didn’t subdue the spirit of participants in the second Juneteenth celebration last Saturday, held in the field across from the Charles Sumner Post #25 on Queen Street.
Laced with conversations about the Charleston tragedy, the event, commemorating freedom from slavery, evoked an additional sense of poignancy. The 2015 Juneteenth celebration was sponsored by the Kent County Arts Council and co-hosted with Music in the Park.
Juneteenth is the oldest known commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States and is celebrated throughout the country every June 19th.
Almost non-stop music, featuring the Vaughn Bratcher Project and others, became the backdrop for the event, whose centerpieces were keynote speaker, Dr. Clara Small, and the march to Memorial Park to ly a wreath in honor of African-Americans who served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.
The return of the Buffalo soldiers and reenactors of B Company, 54th Massachusetts Infantry set the visual tone of the event, with vendors offering a fish fry, soul food, and crabcakes— something for everyone.
For more information about the Charles Sumner Post go here.
In the spirit of the Spy’s archival and curatorial role of showcasing important town history, we are presenting Dr. Small’s talk in its entirety. It is audio-only file, and about 30 minutes long. It’s well worth a listen.
Images by Leslie Raimond. Audio recording by Butch Clark. This recording is part of the permanent audio collection at the Charles Sumner Post (GAR).
Dr. Small recently retired from her professorship in history at Salisbury University where she taught for thirty-six years. Her fields include Civil Rights in American Society, African American history, Racism and Discrimination, and much more.
Her most recent publication is Compass Points: Profiles and Biographies of African Americans from the Delmarva Peninsula, Vol. 1 (2014). Among her many honors and recognitions is her appointment to the Governor’s Commission to Coordinate the Study Commemoration, and Impact of the History and Legacy of Slavery.
Compass Points is Small’s third book. Along with Reality Check, she also is the co-author (with the Rev. David Briddell) of Men of Color to Arms! Manumitted Slaves and Free Blacks from the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland Who Served in the Civil War, released in 2010.