by Amherst History | Jun 12, 2022 | Blog
On Saturday, June 18, the town of Amherst will observe the Juneteenth holiday, celebrating the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and to ensure that all enslaved people were freed.
Amherst’s 2022 celebration will include a heritage walking tour at 11 AM and a jubilee on the Common at noon. The walking tour will begin in Amherst’s West Cemetery where soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and of the 5th Cavalry, who alerted Texas residents that the Civil War and slavery had ended, are buried. Visitors will stop at the Emily Dickinson house; two other stops include Hope Church, the first Black church in Amherst, and the Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church. You may find more information on this and related celebrations here.
You may view some of the events from the 2021 observance here.
by George Naughton | Jun 18, 2021 | Blog
June 19–‘Juneteenth’–marks the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865,announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. But when we think of important dates in June, we can also remember that on June 2, 1924, the Snyder Act was signed into law, grantingfull citizenship rights to Native Americans, many of whom had fought in World War I. And even then, Native Americans were not always allowed to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Locally, when we think of Native Americans, remember that the Sioux author and activist Charles Eastman lived in Amherst for many years, starting in 1903. And the Amherst Historical Society is fortunate to have the video of a lecture by Dr Christine DeLucia about her book Memory Lands, describing the Native Americans’ ongoing struggle for recognition.
by Amherst History | Nov 20, 2020 | 2020 History Bites
by Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, UMass/Amherst
“I would like to speak on the history of the Memorial Tablets that commemorated the service and sacrifice of men from Amherst who served as soldiers and sailors in the Civil War. These were the people who paid the ultimate price to make possible Juneteenth (the end of chattel enslavement of people of African descent in the U.S.)! Of course, I would connect the history of Juneteenth to the struggle to remember the Civil War as a common fight for freedom and to form a ‘more perfect union.’”
The lecture weaves the lives of men like Josiah Hasbrook Jr. in Amherst with individuals like Frederick Douglass who was the keynote speaker at the 31st anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on September 24, 1894, in Alexandria, Va. to John Mercer Langston who delivered keynote speeches there in 1895 and 1897. Alexandria like Amherst has in recent decades settled on celebrating Juneteenth as the date to commemorate the ending of chattel slavery. I will answer why Juneteenth has become that special date across the country interweaving the remembrance of our veterans and the memory of the war and black liberation with the struggle right here, right now with our Memorial Tablets.