Musicians, reenactors, dancers and neighbors joined together to celebrate a historic event: the abolishment of slavery. The 6300 block of Germantown Avenue was closed off for the Germantown Historical Society to stage its Juneteenth Festival.
The event served not only to commemorate the 148th anniversary of Emancipation but also to join the Germantown community in pursuing freedom and equality in the future. Activities included panel discussions, tours, food and speeches from reenactors including Harriet Tubman and Henry “Box” Brown. Tubman single-handedly lead hundreds of slaves from the South to freedom in the North before the Civil War while Brown escaped slavery by hiding inside a shipping crate sent to Philadelphia.
“The fight for freedom exists today and it will in the future and so that is the reason that we celebrate it,” festival planning committee member Cornelia Swinson said about this annual celebration. Swinson is the executive director of the historical Johnson House, that before the Civil War served as an Underground Railroad station and now operates as a museum.
Music for this festival came from the bands of Howard Cupit and The Brett Jolly Experience who both played on a stage right on Germantown Avenue.
Actress Millicent Sparks played Harriet Tubman and spoke about the historical figure’s experiences with the underground railroad.
“Working on these projects is about getting education out to the community,” Craig Stutman, a history professor and moderator on a panel for the Underground Railroad in Germantown, said. “It’s really about trying to piece the whole story together as best as possible and then present it to the public.”
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