RED BANK, NJ - On Saturday June 19, 2021, beginning at 12 noon, the community of Red Bank will celebrate Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom! Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure that those enslaved were freed. The troops arrived over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln, which only freed slaves in Confederate territories. Juneteenth is a day that honors the sacrifices and triumphs of African American people and the importance of preserving its history, which is an important facet of American culture that should not be overlooked.
The celebration will begin at 12 noon at Pilgrim Baptist Church for the Community Solidarity March. At 1:30 p.m. the T. Thomas Cultural Center will provide a presentation on cultural awareness, featuring the Cultural Center's newest exhibit, “The Fabric of Our Lives: A Textile Cultural Experience.” The day will conclude with a community celebration at the Johnny Jazz Park (Pocket Park) hosted by the Red Bank Recreation Department. This Juneteenth celebration will educate attendees on important historical facts and events. It will also be a celebration of how far we have come, while acknowledging the ways we must still move forward.
In keeping with the celebration for Juneteenth, Two River Theater's Costume Department is working with Gilda Rogers on the new exhibit, "The Fabric of Our Lives: A Cultural Textile Experience." Visitors can expect to see a vintage 1916 hand cranked Singer sewing machine, like what Carrie Fortune, T. Thomas Fortune's wife, who was a seamstress, would have used. The exhibit will feature artistic quilts by Gloria Douglas and Michelle Lewis, who call themselves Storytellers in Cloth. They founded a quilting retreat in 1995 for women of color to express themselves artistically. The art of quilting is a black tradition dating back to slavery when quilts were used as a compasses to help those escaping to freedom. Today they can be found in museums all over the country.
The exhibit will also include a kid's corner, and a video presentation by the Smithsonian American Art Museum featuring artist Bisa Butler. The exhibit will take place at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on Saturdays and Sundays between 1-5 p.m. starting June 19th and will continue into the fall. It will be a culturally immersive experience you will not want to miss! The $10 suggested donation for viewing the exhibit helps the Cultural Center in its mission to engage the community with informative public programming.
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