Hudson Valley Juneteenth 2022 Events
On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and informed residents that all 250,000 enslaved people living in the state were to be freed. Though President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, news of the proclamation spread slowly, and it was generally only enforced by the advance of the Union troops.
Formerly known as Jubilee Day, the celebration of June 19 as the end of slavery in the US began in Texas and soon spread all over the country. In 2020, Biden designated Juneteenth as an official public holiday. Today, the occasion celebrates Black culture and highlights the ongoing fight for true equality in the United States. Check out these Juneteenth events in the Hudson Valley.
With the 2022 theme “Preserving Our Legacy,” Juneteenth Heritage Committee will hold its 18th annual Juneteenth parade and festival on June 11 in White Plains. The parade will run from 11am to 1pm, admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. The parade will be held on Mamaroneck Avenue, with the festival following at Court Street until 5pm. The event will have food and entertainment by Ivan Polanco, Janis McClain, Music with a Message Youth Renaissance, Zaida, and the Royalty Step Team. It also includes a tribute to Theodore Lee and his wife JoAnne Lee, beloved residents of White Plains and organizers of previous Juneteenth celebrations.
On June 19 at 5pm, the Bardavon will host author and scholar Imani Perry. Perry is a professor of African Studies and a faculty associate with the programs in Jazz Studies, Sexuality Studies, and Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University. At this event she will be speaking about her new book South to America. In her book, Perry aims to shift views on the American South, and subsequently the country’s entire history. Perry argues that the culture in America often blames the South for the prevalent racism in this country as a way of avoiding taking responsibility. Following Perry’s presentation, there will be a Q&A followed by a book signing in the lobby. This event is free to the public, tickets are available at Poughkeepsie’s Adriance Memorial Library and Bardavon box office.
The Resistance Revival Chorus will perform at the Old Dutch Church on June 18 at 7pm. The group is made up of over 60 women and nonbinary performers highlighting and uplifting their peers voices. Members of the group represent a variety of career paths, including musicians, actors, activists, educators and other creatives. The singers focus on breathing joy and song into the gender equality movement. Tickets for their concert start at $20 and are available at the Bardavon, Ulster Performing Arts Center box offices, or Ticketmaster.
Q POP, a community collective that hosts Queer Pop-up events all over the Hudson Valley, is hosting a two-day event for Juneteenth. On June 18, in Midtown Kingston, they are hosting a Queerteenth Film Festival & Night Market. Starting at 7:30pm the festival will feature films from Black and Black Queer filmmakers and guest speakers. The theme for this year's film festival is celebrating Black creativity, Black and Queer multiplicity, its place in Queer spaces, and liberation. All filmmakers in the area identifying as artists of the African Diaspora are welcome to enter a film for free. There will be a cash prize for the best film as voted by the audience. All admission to the event is free.
Q POP celebrations will continue on June 19 at 2pm at Block Park on Abeel Street with a block party, marketplace, and wellness event. The event will have local musicians, grilled food, farmers from the area with local produce, and wellness practitioners offering their healing experiences. Admission is free.
The City of Peekskill Youth Bureau will hold its 11th annual Juneteenth celebration at Depew Park on June 18 from 12pm to 5pm. This year’s event theme is celebrating African American firsts. Honored guests and Grand Marshals of the event are Joan Battle King, the first Black woman to own a licensed childcare facility in Peekskill; Judge Reginald Johnson, the first Black judge in Peekskill; Mayor Vivienne McKenzie, the first Black woman mayor in Peekskill; and the first Black deputy County Executive in Westchester. Freedom Day celebrations will include plenty of music, art, and dancing, with marching bands, jazz, gospel, hip hop, African drums and dance, and spoken word, plus food and craft vendors. There will also be a Juneteenth flag raising ceremony on June 9 at Peekskill City Hall.
On June 17 and 18, the Hamilton Hill Arts Center will host their 21st annual Juneteenth celebration in Schenectady. The opening ceremony will take place on the evening of June 17 in Vale Cemetery. This event is designed to honor the ancestors buried at the historic burial ground in Schenectady. On June 18 in Central Park, there will be an all day festival featuring live music, food, vendors, and performances honoring Black culture.
The town of New Paltz is coming together this year to honor Juneteenth with a variety of programming. Observation of the holiday will begin at noon on June 18 with a Juneteenth commemoration ceremony at New Paltz Rural Cemetery led by members of the Dr. Margaret Wade-Lewis Black History Research and Cultural Center. The hour-long event will pay tribute to the lives of the first free people in New Paltz at the place where many of them are buried. It will include a prayer, flowers laid at the graves, and music by Kitt Potter and her choir.
On June 18, at Historic Huguenot Street, there will be three tours at 2:30pm, 4:00pm, and 5:30pm. Every tour will start at DuBois Fort Visitor Center and last roughly one hour, participants will see a number of homes built by Jacob Wynkoop, a Civil War veteran, for the free Black community in New Paltz in the 19th century. Tour guides will tell the story of Wynkoop and his family, along with other prominent families (including the Hasbrouck, LeFevre, and Banks families) that lived in the area in the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.
In addition to the tours, Historic Huguenot Street will host a variety of speakers from 2pm to 6pm. Speakers will include an impressive list of local politicians and activists. Esi Lewis is the Founder of the Dr. Margaret Wade-Lewis Black History Research and Culture Center, a New Paltz Town Board member, and is currently working on creating a New Paltz Black History Museum and Cultural Center. Jessieca McNabb is a host on Radio Kingston and a community human rights activist. Dr. Weldon McWilliams IV, chair of the department for Black Studies at SUNY New Paltz.
Along with the speakers, there will be a range of performances. Performers include a reading of “What to a Slave is Your Fourth of July” by Frederick Douglass performed by Oliver King. Other performers are Emily Beck, Franklin Gillis, Dorian Randolph, Atabeya, Rivergrass Revival, 7he 7eam, and Drumming by P.O.O.K. and friends. Following the speakers and performances, from 7:30pm to 9pm there will be a screening of the movie Lincoln at Elting Memorial Library.
On June 19 festivities will continue with a performance by musician Hubby Jenkins at the Unison Arts Center at 4pm. Jenkins is a multi-instrumentalist that got his start playing traditional jazz, blues, ragtime, fiddle and banjo, eventually ending up as a member of the Grammy award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops from 2010 to 2016 and a member of Rhiannon Giddens band.