Monday, June 12, 2023

North Country Juneteenth commemoration planned

John Brown Farm

A Juneteenth celebration in the North Country which tells the stories of the region’s role in the fight against slavery, as well as prominent anti-slavery Quakers and abolitionist John Brown will be held June 17 thru 19. 

Juneteenth was the excitement that slaves in Texas felt after learning they were free, nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  They immediately began to celebrate.  The “Colors of Freedom” tour will be a unique way for families and visitors alike to experience the struggles that took place in this area.

Clinton and Essex counties were at the center of the roiling abolition controversies before the Civil War, helping many freedom-seekers fleeing enslavement to follow the Lake Champlain corridor to Canada in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s.    The tour will trace those controversies, ranging from Ausable Chasm, to Peru, to Elizabethtown, and then Lake Placid where Brown is buried.

The June 17-19“Colors of Freedom” tour will feature seven different stops with re-enactors, music, food and celebrations of the freedom spirit in Clinton and Essex counties.   Sponsored by the North Star Underground Railroad Museum, John Brown Lives!, the Adirondack History Museum, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Clinton County Historical Association and the State University of New York Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  This event involves museums, historic sites, original re-enactments, and musical entertainment.   On June 19 a screening of: “Songs of Slavery and Emancipation” documentary and Q&A with Filmmaker, Musician and Author Mat Callahan. 

On June 17 the “Colors of Freedom” tour will start at 9:00 am at the Strand Theater in Plattsburgh.  You will visit the Keeseville Baptist Cemetery, Quaker Union and Stephen Keese Smith’s farm.  Attendees will travel to Elizabethtown Courthouse to hear John Brown’s Last Speech to the Court at 1:00 pm.  On June 18 John Brown Farm which will be a celebration of Freedom with music and a display of Black Lives Matter.

Details for “Colors of Freedom” Tour are posted here:  The charge will be $10 a person, $20 for a family pass, and pre-registration is required.

Made possible, in part, by the Essex County Arts Council’s Cultural Assistance Program Grant with funding provided by Essex County.

Photo: John Brown Farm seen in September 2020. Photo by Vanessa Banti. Editor’s note: This has been updated to change the start of the celebrations from two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, not two years after the end of the Civil War.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. Linda Ramirez says:

    What a fantastic event and opportunity. There is so much history in this area. And what a collaborative effort.

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