Kennett to celebrate Underground Railroad

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were free — over two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had become official.

A host of activities will accompany the Juneteenth celebration in Kennett Square on Saturday, June 15.

Kennett Square’s annual Juneteenth Celebration, on Saturday, June 15, honors the heritage, human dignity, and history of the Underground Railroad in the Kennett area. The combination of its proximity to the Mason-Dixon line, a large Quaker population opposed to slavery, organized abolitionist societies, and a relatively large number of free African American communities made Chester County an important stop on the way north for many freedom seekers. Renowned speakers who visited Kennett Square included Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Lucretia Mott.

Through storytelling and performance, Juneteenth events will bring to life the important role this small town and many local residents, black and white, played in the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement. The one-day celebration will offer a diverse range of engaging and interactive activities on the 300 block of East Linden Street, including a Kennett Underground Railroad Pop Up Museum; a presentation by Cheryl Gooch, author of Hinsonville Heroes and On Africa’s Lands;  and a performance by the Twin Poets, award-winning spoken word poets, community activists, and the 17th Poets Laureate of Delaware. There will also be an interactive mapping activity on East Linden Street to celebrate the diverse and connective geographies of people in our community, as well as a movie and book display at the Kennett Library.

Free parking is available in the municipal parking garage on the 100 block of East Linden Street.

For a full lineup of the day’s events go to https://historickennettsquare.com/event/2019-juneteenth-celebration/. Juneteenth is made possible by financial support from Hadley at CCCF and the MLK CommUNITY of the Greater Kennett Area.

 

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