On Friday, June 18, 2021, John Brown Lives! (JBL!) and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSORHP) will unveil a banner heralding the 125th anniversary of NYS’ acquisition of the John Brown Farm in 1896.
NYS Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos are expected for the unveiling and special tour of the Farm, including the Memorial Field for Black Lives. Also present will be 125th Anniversary Honorary Committee Co-Chairs novelist Russell Banks and visual artist, historian and acclaimed author Nell Painter.
They will be joined by environmental leader Aaron Mair, Nicky Hylton-Patterson, director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, and Saranac Lake artist and creator of the Memorial Field for Black Lives, Ren Davidson.
The tour, from 11am-12pm, will include the Dreaming of Timbuctoo Exhibition and a moment of silence in the gravesite where Brown and fellow Raiders are buried and in the Memorial Field. The public is welcome to attend.
Juneteenth on Saturday
Juneteenth will be celebrated at the John Brown Farm the following day, on Saturday, June 19, from 12-3 pm and will feature:
- Welcome to Juneteenth, by Yolanda Bostic Williams, NYS Parks at 12, 1, 2pm
- African Drumming by Dian Oury Bah, master drummer and musical director of Badenyah Drum & Dance at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15pm
- Underground Railroad Storytelling by Bobby Christopher at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30pm
- Performance by EMERGE125 dancers (formerly Elise Monte Dance) at 12:45, 1:45, 2:45pm
Juneteenth will be held outdoors in different locations around the Brown homestead. Visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic and leave no trace!
A special Father’s Day reading of “The Bench,” by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, will take place on Sunday, every half hour between 1-3pm. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
In partnership with Lake Placid Public Library, families are also invited to follow the self-guided StoryWalk ® featuring “Over and Under the Pond,” by Kate Messner and “You Matter” by Christian Robinson.
The John Brown Farm State Historic Site is open seasonally for house tours and visits to the gravesite and exhibitions in the upper and lower barns from 10-5pm, except Tuesdays. The grounds are open daily until dark.
For information, contact John Brown Lives! at email@example.com or 518-744-7112 or visit www.johnbrownlives.org.
John Brown Farm seen in September 2020. Photo by Vanessa Banti
The events scheduled to celebrate the new “Juneteenth” holiday at John Brown Farm recognize the difficult history of black people in America. This holiday can also be a time for those of us of every race and background to celebrate the role of diversity in making America a strong and vibrant nation.
Let us make the Juneteenth holiday our annual day of renewal to challenge us all to look beyond our differences and help each other. Let this day be a reminder that our diversity is our strength, not our weakness, as we strive to build a better future for all.