In 2022, many cities and towns across the Hudson Valley like Poughkeepsie celebrated the newest federal holiday with their residents in special ways. Juneteenth celebrations in Poughkeepsie started on Saturday, June 18, 2022, with various organizations and community leaders hosting the festivities.
Photo Caption: Author Imani Perry at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House meeting with readers like Lyric (age 9) at the book signing in Poughkeepsie, New York on June 19, 2022. / Photo Credit Nile Clarke of The Goodie Drop
Juneteenth or June 19th became a U.S. federal holiday in 2021. The holiday is in observance of the day enslaved peoples in Galveston, Texas were finally told that they were free in the year 1865 which was about two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was written. In 1865, slavery was abolished with the 13th Amendment added to the U.S. Constitution.
Juneteenth has been celebrated for decades by black people as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day when all enslaved peoples received the freedom news.
Community Events Celebrating Juneteenth
On June 18th at Mansion Square Park, the city of Poughkeepsie and local leaders sponsored a community get-together in the square. Musical performances by black artists, tables with black businesses and booths hosted by black organizations filled up the entire park. The event also celebrated the accomplishments of the youth who participated in the R.E.A.L. Skills program at the Family Partnership Center.
Photo Caption: R.E.A.L Skills Youth Program Graduation / Celebrating The African Spirit organization (C.A.S.) remembering the children of Uvalde / Curly Girl Central Business / Remaining photos are visitors attending the Poughkeepsie Juneteenth Celebration at Mansion Square Park in Poughkeepsie, New York on June 18, 2022. /Photo Credit Nile Clarke of The Goodie Drop
On the official day of Juneteenth, the Poughkeepsie Public Library District and the Bardavon 1869 Opera House hosted an "Author Talk" with Imani Perry. Perry is a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is also a six-time published author whose most recent book “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2020.
Photo Caption: Author Imani Perry speaking at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House / Remaining photos are of readers meeting Imani Perry at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, New York on June 19, 2022. / Photo Credit Nile Clarke of The Goodie Drop
“It’s a correction of the story of Freedom” - Imani Perry
Perry spoke to the audience at the Opera House inspiring the listeners to demand more from themselves when observing the day and to learn more about it saying, “Juneteenth poses a different kind of demand and it’s a good thing. It’s not a holiday predicated on myth but rather the exposure of myth. Juneteenth exposes the incompleteness of the 4th as it were. It’s a correction of the story of Freedom”.
The ‘Author Talk’ ended with a book signing and photo opportunities for Hudson Valley readers to meet Author Imani Perry.
Photo Caption: CIA Graduate Chef Brandon Walker hosting a cooking demonstration for a Juneteenth event at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York on June 20, 2022. / Photo Credit Nile Clarke of The Goodie Drop
On June 20th, the Black Culinarian Society (CIA_BCS) from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York hosted a Juneteenth Culinary experience.
The event started with a live cooking demonstration by CIA graduate Chef Brandon Walker who is the owner and operator of Essie’s Restaurant in Poughkeepsie, NY. Chef Brandon showed visitors how to cook a delicious pot of stew peas and rice. Guest were able to learn about the dish and taste it too! CIA students in the audience were eager to hear from Chef Brandon and learned a lot from his demonstration as he incorporated his roots and culture into his cooking. Sophomore Terayea Foster said that “It was really inspirational just to see another black chef who graduated from here doing what I want to do, hopefully in the future”.
Photo Caption: Three Culinary Institute of America (CIA) students attended the cooking demonstration by CIA Graduate Chef Brandon Walker for a Juneteenth event at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York on June 20, 2022. (Left to Right Nala Burkhalter, Nicole Dexter, Terayea Foster) Photo Credit Nile Clarke of The Goodie Drop
The CIA_BCS shared a feast of tasty foods inspired by what the "future of Juneteenth" could be. The delectable bites included a layered red velvet cake, black bean burger sliders and black-eyed peas for good luck. Local visitors that came to the Juneteenth event on-campus spoke to The Goodie Drop saying, “I would love these young people that are here today, to really absorb what’s going on and continue to take it forward”. - Hillary Spooner (Hudson Valley Resident)
Photo Caption: Visitors and students of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) enjoy some tasty foods provided by the Black Culinarian Society (CIA_BCS) for the 2022 Juneteenth event at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York on June 20, 2022. / Photo Credit Nile Clarke of The Goodie Drop
The fun-filled Juneteenth celebrations written about in this article were all interactive learning experiences that ushered in a new and supportive environment to honor and celebrate the Juneteenth federal holiday in the Hudson Valley.
For more information on the organizations mentioned - follow the links below.