It only took us over 150 years, but African Americans now have a day that is all their own. Today is Juneteenth, long considered the “longest-running African-American holiday,” according to Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture, and is now firmly established as a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. Recognized and celebrated by the African-American community for generations, the holiday dates as far back as 1866, but didn’t become a federal holiday until 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act establishing the day, observed on June 19, as the 11th national holiday in the United States.
Across the South Fork, dozens of locales are celebrating Juneteenth, noting the rich legacy within the community. Here’s a list of where you can show up to celebrate and observe throughout the Hamptons.
Today at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, there’s a commemoration at the Afro-Indigenous Burial Ground with a “Calling of the Names.” There are upwards of 200 people of color that were ensalved servants and laborers that are buried on the Manor’s grounds located just south of the residence. The Manor’s Director of History and Heritage Donnamarie Barnes will give a short talk and tour of the burial ground beginning at noon. A ceremony will follow that will include a traditional libation homage to the ancestors. Free and open to the public.
Agawam Park, 51 Pond Ln., Southampton
In Southampton, the 4th Annual Juneteenth Ceremony is at Agawam Park on Jobs Lane from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow, June 18.
On Monday, June 19, at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill beginning at 2 p.m., there’s a screening of two short films focused on the Sag Harbor Hills, Azurest & Ninevah Subdivsions (SANS), an African-American beachfront community located off Route 114 in Sag Harbor that was formed after World War II as a response to Jim Crow-era legalized segregation. HOME: Long Island: Sag Harbor is a 35-minute long documentary from 2022 depicting members from the local African-American community and their efforts to preserve their neighborhood’s history and ensure their future. A Beach of Our Own is a nine-minute film made in 2020 and brought to us from “T,” the style magazine from the New York Times. Organized in collaboration with Eastville Community Historical Society and the Southampton African American Museum (SAAM), the screenings will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Brenda Simmons, executive director of Southampton African American Museum. Panel members are slated to include Renee Simons, SANS Sag Harbor president, Dr. Georgette Grier-Key, executive director at Eastville Community Historical Society, artist and SANS resident Dr. Beverly Granger, and Sarah Kautz, a consultant on cultural resources and preservation. Admission to this event is $16 for adults, $12 for seniors, $10 for members, and $5 for students and children.
On Monday, June 19, and Tuesday, June 20, LTV Studios in Wainscott celebrates Juneteenth from 5 to 8 p.m. both days. “Remembering Harry Belafonte,” a partnership between LTV and the fine folks from Eastville and SAAM, will include a 6 p.m. screening of Carmen Jones (fun fact: the iconic Dorothy Dandridge played the titular role opposite Belafonte and became the first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Actress for her performance back in 1954), plus music and conversation. Beer, wine, finger foods, and snacks will be available. Tomorrow, Sing Your Song screens at 6 p.m.. This event is free, text LTVHARRY to 41444 or click here to reserve a seat.
Herrick Park, 67 Newtown Ln., East Hampton
Also on Monday, in East Hampton, there’s a “Juneteenth Celebration” beginning at noon at Herrick Park. Brought to us by the Calvary Baptist Church, the East Hampton Anti-Bias Task Force, and the Village and Town of East Hampton, all are welcome to join Reverend Walter Silva Thompson Jr. as local clergy and other guests discuss the significance of the holiday. Certain Moves Trio will perform. Festivities will go until 4 p.m..