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A Juneteenth Celebration

Middle Street Baptist Church
18 Court St.
Portsmouth, NH 03801
United States

Celebrate the art of activism, cultural resistance and everyday protest through art, music, dialogue and song at ‘A Juneteenth Celebration’ at Middle Street Baptist Church!

Cultural resistance is the broad use of arts, literature, and traditional practices to challenge unjust or oppressive systems within the context of nonviolent actions, campaigns and movements.

For this year’s celebration, local African American artists Joel Gill and Richard Hanes will share stories of how they use their work as tools of resistance, to celebrate their individuality and to honor their community.

The event will also feature a remembrance celebration at the African Burying Ground Memorial with traditional drumming by Robert Bellinger, a dramatic performance by actor Sandi Clark featuring a piece written by Kathleen Wheeler, The Voices of the Ancestors, and a retelling of the story of the African Burying Ground by Sankofa Scholar Kevin Wade Mitchell.   The celebration will continue into the evening with a special concert, Spirituals and Sacred Songs: A celebration of American Sacred Journeying, featuring vocalist Rev. Robert Thompson.

The observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day is the oldest known nationally celebrated event commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Although President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, in the fall of 1862, declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever be free,” it was not until June 19th, 1865, two years later, that the enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, got the news that the war had ended and they were free.

Through honest and open sharing of personal stories our presenters will explore the legacy of racism that is rooted in the history of slavery and how we can heal the racial divide through dialogue.

Schedule of Events

11:30 am    –     Artist Presentation, Richard Haynes

12:15 pm    –     Soul Food Lunch

1:00 pm    –     Artist Presentation, Joel Gill

1:45 pm    –     Walk to African Burying Ground Memorial

2:00 pm – 3 pm   –    Music Jamboree and Remembrance Celebration, African Burying  Ground Memorial Park

Break from 3 pm – 7 pm.

7:00 pm   –       Spirituals & Sacred Songs with Rev Robert Thompson

The Presenters:

Richard Haynes is an American visual storyteller, a cultural keeper and maker.  He uses his art not only to make society aware of the invisible in this world but also to provoke unity.  It reflects his own colorful and diverse life.  Richard is a painter, photographer, educator, lecturer, professor, mentor, and a strong advocate for social justice. He is also the Associate Director for Diversity in Admissions.

Joel Christian Gill™ is the author/illustrator of 2 books from Fulcrum Publishing Strange Fruit vol I Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History May 2014 and Tales of the Talented Tenth Fall 2014. In his spare time, he is a member of The Boston Comics Roundtable.

 The Reverend Robert H. Thompson, a longtime resident of the Seacoast, is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is also the president of the Board of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, Inc.,

Robert Bellinger teaches classes in African American and American history, African Diaspora studies, and the history and culture of Senegal at Suffolk University. His research interests include late 19th century African American history, West African history and Culture, and West African drum traditions.

Sandi Clark, actor, playwright and producer, is the principal of Juckwaa Theatre Company in New Hampshire designed to increase community awareness about diversity within the human experience. She is also the president of the Seacoast African American Center.

Kevin Wade Mitchell is a regional actor and a Sankofa Scholar for the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire