Westport, NY – John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is observing Juneteenth this weekend with a documentary film screening, live music, a dramatic performance, and the “Colors of Freedom” driving tour to significant sites of Underground Railroad and abolitionist activity in Essex and Clinton Counties.
Juneteenth is a national holiday that commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States when, on June 19, 1865, federal troops finally arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure the freeing of all enslaved people. Their freedom came two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
On Saturday, June 18, filmmaker Paul Miller will be present for the screening of “Searching for Timbuctoo,” his documentary about the Black New Yorkers who settled in the Adirondacks in the 1840s to gain access to the vote and a foothold on their own land. The in-person only event is a collaboration with Adirondack Film Society and Lake Placid Center for the Arts where the film will be shown at 7 pm. Admission is $5 per adult.
Following the film, Miller will be joined in conversation by Hadley Kruczek-Aaron, director of the Timbuctoo Archaeology Project at SUNY Potsdam, and Amy Godine, independent scholar, writer, and curator of the “Dreaming of Timbuctoo” Exhibition on view at the John Brown Farm. Admission is $5 per adult.
On Sunday, June 19, Philadelphia-area musicians Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise and actor Andrea Baer will perform at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site from 3-5 pm. Baer will bring Helen Appo Cook to life in a dramatic monologue written by Robin Michel Caudell called “Remove the Scales from Thine Eyes.” Cook was a prominent Black community activist and champion of equal suffrage for women. Her father, the renowned conductor, composer, and touring musician William Appo bought land in North Elba in 1848 near the other Black pioneers and was a friend and fellow traveler of the Brown family. The monologue is a selection from Caudell’s larger work, “The Black Opal Suite: Melanated Women in the Adirondacks.”
Knotz and Elise will bring their unique blend of hip-hop, soul and classical traditions to the Juneteenth celebration. An unlikely musical pair, MC, poet and storyteller Knotz and Elise, a classically-trained harpist, pianist and vocalist, have been collaborating and performing together since 2018. Their second album “ kəˈmyo ͞ onədē ,” (pronounced “community,”) released last December has been described by Chase March as a “sonic masterpiece.”
For more information about the film screening or the celebration at the John Brown Farm, contact email@example.com or 518-744-7112.
John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is a non-profit freedom education and human rights project that brings communities together using history, education, advocacy, and the arts to address critical issues of our time. The official NYS Friends Group of the John Brown Farm State Historic Site, JBL! strives for the Farm to be recognized, supported, and visited as a site of conscience and a place for teaching, reflection, discovery, and dialogue for Adirondack residents and visitors of all ages.