On Saturday, June 19th 2021, for the first time, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will celebrate Juneteenth as an official state holiday. The Town of Amherst, in partnership with The Civil War Tablet Committee and The Mill District, will celebrate Juneteenth with a daylong event spread over four locations. Uplifting African American culture, traditions, and community heroes near and far, including Amherst residents Christopher, John, Henry, James and Charles Thompson who served in the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts 5th Cavalry among the Soldiers in Texas for the liberation. They are laid to rest in the West Cemetery located in Amherst Center.
June 19th or Juneteenth celebrates the day Major General Gordan Granger led US troops into Galveston in 1865 to take over Texas, one of the final hold out states to admit defeat during the Civil War, enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and formally marked the day that all slaves in the United States were freed.
Juneteenth is a second Independence Day; a jubilee for African Americans, welcoming all who believe in freedom for all through gathering, art, history, music, food, education and spiritual acknowledgment.
In 1893 the regional chapter of the GAR- Grand Army of the Republic Veterans Association- commissioned tablets to recognize soldiers from the Amherst region who served in the Union forces, including African Americans from the 54th Regiment and 5th Cavalry. Amherst resident, Dudley Bridges Sr., spent the last years of his life advocating and fundraising to honor these handcrafted memorials with prominent and befitting placement within the community. We are pleased to announce that these handcrafted memorials, which have been hidden from public view for decades, will make a long awaited debut in an exhibit as part of the day’s celebration.
We are honored to be joined by distinguished guest speakers and presenters, including William Harris, President and CEO of Space Center Houston, nephew of Dudley Bridges Sr., grandson of both Christopher Thompson and Gilbert “Gill” Roberts of Amherst, as Master of Ceremony, and grateful for the outpouring of community support that will enable this event to empower our youth, inspire our peers, and serve as record for future generations.
Juneteenth Amherst Event 2021 Snapshot: Saturday, June 19th
Tribute to our Soldiers 10:00 am at the West Cemetery in Amherst Center
Commemoration and Civil War Tablet Exhibit 11:00 am at the Bangs Center Courtyard (70 Boltwood Walk)
Community Jubilee 1:00 pm on the Amherst Town Common with food and entertainment
Sunset Reception 6:00 pm at The Mill District in North Amherst featuring an artist collective and fashion show
All locations for this event will follow any relevant COVID-19 protocols and guidance as provided by the State of Massachusetts
Contact Jennifer Moyston at (413) 259-3002 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All are welcome to this event and we look forward to celebrating with you on Juneteenth 2021
The Civil War Tablets Committee
The Mill District
The Town of Amherst