2 p.m. Saturday, June 19 at Jamestown Settlement
Commemorate Juneteenth – an American celebration that marks the end of slavery in the United States.
Although Juneteenth springs from events that happened in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, the event celebrates liberation from a system of slavery with origins in Jamestown, Va., as the place where the first recorded Africans in 1619 were brought after landing at Old Point Comfort and where the first slave laws enacted in the mid-17th century impacted the lives and status of Africans and their descendants.
Christy S. Coleman, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Executive Director, led Juneteenth events, offering opening and closing remarks.
In this thought-provoking 90-minute program of performance, music and dance, visitors encountered stories of African Americans from three centuries who fought against those laws until freedom came.
Among the first-person portrayals were Elizabeth Key, who sued for her freedom in Virginia’s 17th-century courts and won; an 18th-century Black soldier who claimed his freedom by enlisting in the Continental Army’s integrated Rhode Island Regiment; and Frederick Douglass, a former slave who self-emancipated and became one of the 19th century’s most famous abolitionists.
Presentations featured Claves Unidos of Richmond, Va., performing “Our Hearts Beat Freedom” through dance, African drums and original interpretive choreography, while Lisa Reid-Williamson and All 4 Christ provided interludes of song.
Juneteenth programs were held in the Robins Foundation Theater.
Jamestown Settlement, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. Living-history areas are open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Gift shop and café open during museum hours. Parking is free. Museum operations have been adapted for everyone’s health and safety with protective protocols. Admission tickets can be purchased online on the eStore or in person, following safety protocols.
Jamestown Settlement admission is $18.00 for adults and $9.00 for ages 6-12. A combination ticket with the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is $28.90 for adults and $14.45 for ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency.
Jamestown Settlement is administered by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.