Juneteeth celebrations: Music, food, and poetry in Essex

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 8:04 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 6:44 AM EDT
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ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) - Dozens of Vermonters gathered in Essex to celebrate Juneteenth, recognizing Black history and the importance of emancipation.

It’s the second year Juneteenth is being recognized as a federal holiday. It celebrates this day in 1865 when the news of the end of the Civil War reached Texas, three years after the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery.

In Essex, event-goers listened to music, heard poetry, and enjoyed good food, including honey-glazed cornbread from Harmony’s Kitchen.

Reading from a book of poems, keynote speaker Rajnii Eddins said, “This morning will not be mourning nor our thorn and tears. This forever moment is showing our fears. Say beautiful sun-kissed people, beautiful sun-kissed people. We are on the cusp of overthrowing overseers.”

Attendees had the opportunity to explore the Fort Ethan Allen Museum for free, and some lawmakers advocated for voters to vote yes for Proposition 2 in the November election. The state constitutional amendment would eliminate any remaining reference to slavery and serve as a foundation for addressing systemic racism in Vermont law.

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