Just 156 years ago, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were to be freed. It was 1865 — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
On the anniversary, which is June 19, also known as Juneteenth, Rhode Island honors the end of slavery in the U.S. Here are some options if you’re looking for ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year in Rhode Island.
What can I do in Providence for Juneteenth?
- Rhode Island’s official third annual Juneteenth celebration will take place at Roger Williams Park, on June 19 from noon to 8 p.m. The celebration is free. Bonus: Raiche, a genre-defying Atlantic Records artist, will be performing live, in addition to a slew of others. Find more information on the official website, on their Facebook page, and on Instagram.
- Kin Southern Table + Bar: Join owner Julia Broome’s new downtown restaurant “Kin” for a day of food, vibes, and soul with music and games from noon to 11 p.m. on June 19. See their Facebook page for more details.
- The Direct Action for Rights and Equality, also known as DARE, will host a celebration with storytelling, music, food, and activities for kids in their back parking lot at 340 Lockwood St. from noon to 3 p.m. on June 19. Learn more here.
What can I do in Bristol for Juneteenth?
- The Linden Place Museum is unveiling their Rhode Island Slave History Medallion at a free event on June 19 starting at noon. The event will feature local speakers, African dancers, live music, and a land acknowledgement by Sagamore William Guy of the Pokanoket tribe. Learn more here and register here, as space is limited. Linden Place will also be open for free tours from that day 10 a.m. to noon, where you can learn about the DeWolf family and their history in the slave trade.
- The DeWolf Tavern will continue to honor the lives and legacies of the enslaved on June 21 with a screening of the documentary “Traces of the Trade,” in partnership with the Rhode Island Slave History Medallions project. The program is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a community conversation tracing the footsteps of the DeWolf family from Ghana to Cuba to Bristol, R.I. Learn more here, and reserve your place by registering, as seating is limited.
What can I do in Newport for Juneteenth?
- The Newport Art Museum is celebrating the city’s vibrant African American culture at an art-making workshop on June 11. Register here to reserve your spot for the free workshops, at which all materials will be provided.
- The Sankofa Community Connection and the Newport Art Museum will host a Day of Renewal on Juneteenth, beginning at 11 a.m. with flag waiving at Newport City Hall, followed by a procession to The Great Friends Meeting House, and eventually on to The Liberty Tree in William Ellery Park. The Liberty Tree, located at the corner of Thames and Farewell Streets, was named after the Sons of Liberty’s resistance to British taxation in 1765, but it has been a well-established sacred location for the enslaved Black population in colonial Newport since 1755. There will be storytelling by the Rhode Island Black Storytellers as well as music and artwork from community members.
Alexa Gagosz can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.