Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Times: The Village is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Cost: In commemoration of Juneteenth, admission to the museum is free on June 19, 2024. Pre-registration is encouraged

Reserve Free Tickets

On June 19, 2024, we will commemorate and explore the history, resilience, and culture of Black people in America. We encourage visitors to consider the historical and present-day significance of Juneteenth through interactions with guest speakers and performers as well as Old Sturbridge Village’s costumed educators. Engage in discussions and ask yourself “what can I do to further educate myself?” about the past and how it informs the present day. We will also welcome several special guests!

Plan ahead! View the schedule of activities here.

What is Juneteenth? How does it connect to Old Sturbridge Village?

Juneteenth is a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in 1865. More specifically, it marks the day in 1865 when troops arrived in Galveston Texas to ensure the freedom of those enslaved at the time, more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The road to emancipation was a long one and although slavery wasn’t abolished in the country until decades after the Village’s time period, many seeds of abolition were sown in the first half of the 19th century through lectures, art, articles, books, and other forms of activism. As a part of our Juneteenth program, guests can:

Above: Engraving by Patrick Henry Reason (1816-1898) from the OSV Museum Collection. Engravings like the kneeling enslaved person shown here from 1835 were published in a variety of books and journals.
  • Listen to special music and poetry performances including drumming by the African Community Education (ACE) group of Worcester and spoken word by Ashley Wonder and Mr. Orange Live
  • Listen to talks like:
    • How Did the Abolition of Slavery in Massachusetts in 1783 Lead to Texas Emancipation/Occupation Day in 1865? Join public historian Sean D. Osborne to learn how Quock Walker’s journey from enslavement to colonial era yeoman led to entrepreneur Mary J. “Polly” Johnson’s sidelight as a boarder of self-emancipated people. And hear how Frederick Douglass, one of those boarders, became an influential publisher and advocate for the inclusion of Black soldiers in the Civil War. (2:00 p.m.; Center Meetinghouse)
    • The First Freedom Fighters: Black New England Abolitionists The movement to abolish slavery was the first organized effort aimed at getting the United States to live up to the promises of liberty and equality set forth in the Declaration of Independence.  Join historian Dr. CJ Martin for a talk and discussion about New England’s Black abolitionists, the women and men whose ideas formed the abolitionist movement’s twin goals: the immediate end of slavery and civil and political rights for all Americans. (12:00 p.m.; Gebhardt Performance Barn)
  • Visit with Cardethia Moore of Waistbeads by Cardethia for a craft on the Common.
  • View a case exhibit of antislavery writings in the Richardson House
  • Take an “Uncomfortable Truths”  or “Artisans of Color” walking tour
  • And more! Check back closer to the time for a more detailed schedule

Special thanks to the following Community Partners and special guests for joining us this year and helping us plan Juneteenth programming!

Sean Osborne

Sean Osborne is a public historian who enjoys sharing his research through stories and exhibitions. He has performed in schools, houses of worship, and the workplace.

Mr. Osborne is also a collaborative problem solver.  He is the founder and principal of OSD Engineering Consultants.  OSD is a veteran-owned consulting firm that provides resiliency planning, workforce training, and infrastructure design services.

He earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering degree from Princeton University and a M.S. in Civil Engineering degree from UMass-Lowell.  He is pursuing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida.

Mr. Osborne is the co-founder and Past President of the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL) and was recognized as a 2021 Black Excellence on the Hill honoree by the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus.  As ABCL Historian, he continues to research and create programs for the organization’s Black History Project of Lexington.  As a board member of the Lexington Historical Society, he facilitates the interpretation of history to enlighten the public on the intertwining lives of the tax-paying, indentured and enslaved Black residents of Colonial Lexington with those of the indentured and tax-paying White residents.

Sean Osborne started the successful campaign to create Massachusetts Emancipation Day with letters to the editor which were printed in the Boston Herald and Lexington Minuteman in June 2020.  An Act Designating July 8 as Massachusetts Emancipation Day also known as Quock Walker Day was signed by then-Governor Baker on November 1, 2022.

Ashley Wonder

Ashley Wonder has been writing for over ten years. She performs with dynamic passion to give hope to her audiences. She started out performing in black churches in Worcester and then became a part of the Slam Community in 2014. Repping Worcester her hometown, in Oakland 2015, Decatur, GA 2016. She has had the opportunity to perform at the National Education Support Professional Conference (a part of the Massachusetts Teacher Association) in 2021 which had an audience of 2,000 people! She also had the honor to be apart of the “Still I Rise” Toni Morrison tribute Festival. She has participated in the discussion Black Creative Voices in Worcester 2021 Performed 2019 Women Of Consequence City Hall in Worcester. She has been featured in Troy, New York at Poetic Vibe, all around MA, Boston (Hard Rock Cafe), RI including many colleges and universities such as Holy Cross, and Wheelock among others. She enjoys teaching poetry workshops to youth of all ages to show how fun and interactive Spoken Word can be. She also believes in the power of tea and naps.



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