May 2, 2023
Commemorate this historical event in Harriet Tubman’s Chosen Hometown
AUBURN, NY — The City of Auburn is rich in Black history, pride, and culture, and sites throughout History’s Hometown are planning special events during June to celebrate the legacy of freedom in the place Harriet Tubman called home.
Designated as an official New York State holiday on June 19, 2021, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. Its date originates back to June 19, 1865, when African Americans across Texas were made aware of their right to freedom. While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, also signed by then-Secretary of State William H. Seward, it wasn’t until three years later when Wayne County, NY-native Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger delivered ‘General Order No. 3’ that declared all enslaved people in Texas were free.
Since as early as June 19, 1866, in Galveston, TX, “Emancipation Day” has been observed with parades, prayer, singing, readings, picnics, and exhibits of Black history and art. Last year, U.S. News & World Report named Auburn as one of the “12 Top Destinations to Visit to Celebrate Juneteenth.” For more information on the Juneteenth Celebration 2023, visit https://equalrightsheritage.com/juneteenth/
Featured Events and Activities Celebrating Juneteenth Include:
Seymour Public Library
Black Thought, Voices, and Action free film series facilitated by William E. Berry, Jr. featuring the following topics, Gordon Parks: Photographer, Writer, & Director; Mary Lou Williams: American Jazz Pianist, Arranger, & Composer; Mamie Till-Mobley: Educator & Activist; Bryan Stevenson: Lawyer, Social Justice Activist, & Law Professor; and The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Select Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.; (315) 252-2571
Schweinfurth Art Center
Artist-in-Residence Ellen M. Blalock will photograph local African American families for Auburn’s Black Family Album. Participating families will receive complimentary prints, including a fabric print copy to be later workshopped into a quilt. The final album will be donated to Seymour Library’s History Discovery Center. Sunday, June 11 & 18, 1 to 5 p.m.; Thursday, June 15 & 22, 5 to 8 p.m.; (315) 255-1553
Auburn Public Theater
An evening of comedy with Chapelle’s Show comedian, actor, and podcaster Donnell Rawlings with New Yorkers Abe Gatling and Kenneth McLaurin as opening acts. Produced in partnership with RB Entertainment; $50. Wednesday, June 14, 7 p.m. Chicago’s YouTube sensation singer-songwriter Ashley “Slim” Stevenson returns to Auburn for a live concert; $15. Saturday, June 17, 7 p.m.; (315) 253-6669
Seward House Museum
An evening with iconic activist, feminist, and acclaimed author, Angela Davis, at Auburn Jr. High School Auditorium from 7 to 8 p.m.; $35. Moderated Q&A hosted by Jami Floyd, an award-winning civil rights journalist, podcaster, legal analyst, and author. VIP reception at the Hilton Garden Inn from 8 to 9:30 p.m.; $100-125. Thursday, June 15; (315) 252-1283
Auburn Downtown BID
City of Auburn Juneteenth Parade and Booker T. Washington Community Center’s Celebration honoring Black history and culture through food, activities, music, and other live entertainment and weekend programming. Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; (315) 252-7874
Willard Memorial Chapel
Organist Susan May will perform a free concert of music written by African American men and women during the Civil Rights Era, plus provided refreshments, Harriet Tubman lantern craft making activity, and free tours of Willard Memorial Chapel. Sunday, June 18 from 1 to 4 p.m.; (315) 252-0339
Fort Hill Cemetery
Presentations at Bradley Memorial Chapel by Dr. Judith Wellman on her book Uncovering the Freedom Trail in Auburn and Cayuga County, New York, and historian Michael Long on the new digital Underground Railroad driving tour application, followed by an African American history-focused walking tour through the cemetery led by Hobie Romig. Monday, June 19, 1 to 4 p.m.; (315) 253-8132
Harriet Tubman Home, Inc.
A special performance by a quintet from the Albany Symphony as part of the Symphony’s American Music Festival: Convergence summer tour celebrating Black American historic and cultural sites across New York State. Free and open to the public. Thursday, June 29, 4 to 7 p.m.; (315) 252-2081
Cayuga Museum of History & Art
W.E.B. DuBois Professor in the Humanities at Cornell University Gerard Aching will present Voices on the Underground Railroad based on his research and coordination of the Underground Railroad Research Project. The free presentation will also include a discussion of the newly launched website that maps Central New York underground railroad stations. Thursday, September 14, 6 p.m.; (315) 253-8051
The Juneteenth Celebration 2023 is supported by a Market New York grant from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism as a part of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. These events for the Juneteenth weekend celebration are sponsored in part by the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center and City of Auburn Historic and Cultural Sites Commission.
NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center
The NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center is the official welcome center and tourism hub for the City of Auburn, NY. It serves to shine a light on New York’s equal rights heritage, as well as, the historical, cultural, and entertainment assets the City of Auburn has to offer in a welcoming and educational manner. Learn more: equalrightsheritage.com
City of Auburn Historic & Cultural Sites Commission
The mission of Auburn’s Historic & Cultural Sites Commission is to support its designated organizations to achieve their missions through collaborative marketing, programming, and tourism strategies. The vision of the Commission is to position Auburn as the destination of choice in the Finger Lakes through support and promotion of its history and culture. Learn more: visitauburnny.com