The rain, wind, and waves that threatened to cancel Juneteen’s weekend program are a reminder of the innovation, determination, ingenuity, and sacrifice our ancestors waged against the nearly intolerable living conditions of slavery. It was still rampant in Texas until Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger was liberated. The strength they embodied encouraged all participants despite the weather.
The Inkwell Haven Foundation turned to Union Chapel to keep all the festivities indoors. From the Age of Slavery to Reconstruction, the Age of Shearer, the Civil Rights Movement, the Age of Brooke, the Age of Obama and today, Union Chapel has been a haven against slavery, racism and discrimination. The sanctuary has served as a gathering place for all. And that was last weekend.
On Friday, Dr. Noel Trent, the new director of the Museum of African American History in Boston, joined the first session of the weekend’s event to discuss the movie “Jubilee, Juneteenth, The Thirteenth,” starring Hill Harper. Provided commentary and background for screenings. Nicole Hannah-Jones then presented the first episode of the six-part documentary series “The 1619 Project” produced by Hulu.
Saturday moved dramatically to music, singing and jam sessions, creating an atmosphere of entertainment and celebration. Free spirits sang and danced into the night.
Pastor Michael Eric Dyson preached to a teeming crowd at Union Chapel on Sunday. He mixed biblical allegory, rap, and philosophy while humming while using his passage from Ephesians 5:6 to his 14th verse as a prelude to speaking on the subject of Stay Woke. . The music performed by pianist Jeff Hicks included classics such as “Amazing Grace” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”.
The final hymn was “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” adapted from a poem written by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother J. Rosamund Johnson. This brilliant writer, poet, playwright, lawyer, and civil rights leader was born on his June 17th weekend, June 17th, 1871. This coincidence of dates led to a massive celebration last weekend at Great Barrington in honor of Mr. Johnson’s life. The Juneteen celebration included a tour of the author’s villa and his wife Grace Nail’s mansion, as well as a gala dinner that included an auction.
In Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, across from the Amistad on Beach Road, hosted History Maker and a Toyota franchise dealer. He has more than 30 vineyard residents who have contributed interviews and oral histories for cataloging in the HistoryMakers archive, an international repository of black history. A well-attended interview with Captain Bill Pinckney, led by author and historian Skip Finley, who is also director of sales and marketing for The Vineyard Gazette. Hundreds of people have visited Amistad over time.
Juneteenth Jubilee Cultural Festival Strategic Curator Kahina Van Dijk hosted an appreciation dinner for Juneteenth attendees, family and friends on Sunday evening. The evening started with champagne and appetizers such as fried shrimp and grits on the porch of Inkwell Beach House overlooking Inkwell Beach. Roaring winds, rain, raging waves, and historical memories provided a glimpse of the courage needed to face the brutal elements aboard a slave ship crossing the Intermediate Channel.
With her father in her arms, Kahina leads a leisurely boardwalk around the corner to an ornate tent in the backyard of historic Dunmere Cottage. All were treated to a feast by Chef Martin of the Los Angeles-based Black Pot Supper Club.
Chef Martin’s theme was a recipe by a black culinary genius that has been largely forgotten by history. The menu reminded us of the food of our ancestors and included black eyed bean pancakes with red pepper jelly and fermented vegetables. His second course of Smoked Haddock Chowder with Red Potatoes, Chow Chow and Dill was perfect to beat the cold wind. The main course of Roasted Auge with Pork Crown was surrounded by rigatoni, parmesan, cream, sherry, black pepper, green cabbage, heirloom tomatoes and cheddar cornbread. Dessert was James Hemmings Snow Egg Peach, Basil and Pecans.
In light of Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger’s General Order No. 3, Emancipation of the Texan Slaves Proclamation, it is imperative that progress towards equality and freedom be articulated during the 2023 Jubilee Celebration. In part, he said, “this includes absolute equality (freedom) of personal and property rights between former masters and slaves.” May each of us, despite our perfect imperfections, continue striving day by day for a more perfect union. , are weeks and months away until we meet in 2024.
Paradise on Earth is to live the vineyard experience. Life is fleeting so enjoy it! Randall Edward Taylor, rest in peace.