Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire Juneteenth 2024 Celebration

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire 

Juneteenth 2024 Celebration themed Dreaming Black Art: Gateways to a New Awareness 

June 7, 13, 19, 2024

Collaborative celebration includes artist reception, panel discussion, live concert, children’s drumming workshop, African drumming, and more.

May 8, 2024 – Portsmouth, New Hampshire Juneteenth, a federal holiday celebrated each year on June 19th, is the oldest known nationally celebrated event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.  Here in New Hampshire, Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire (BHTNH) is partnering with the Currier Museum of Art and Seacoast African American Cultural Center (SAACC) to host celebratory events in Manchester and Portsmouth on June 7, 13, and 19, 2024. Programs include an art exhibit and reception, an in-person and virtual in-depth panel discussion, children’s drumming workshop, African drumming, and more. 

The BHTNH Juneteenth theme this year is Dreaming Black Art: Gateways to a New Awareness. “This year’s Juneteenth programs will peel back the layers of the complex representation of Black men in our country to open gateways to a new awareness and understanding. We will celebrate the depth and lived experience of Black men in our midst. Artists and creatives whose work aims to dismantle harmful stereotypes and expectations imposed on Black men will guide and inspire us.” explains JerriAnne Boggis, BHTNH Executive Director. 

She goes on to say, “Masculinity and manhood are hot topics in the United States today. Debates over the correct role of men in society fill our political and social discussions.  Some men feel that they are under attack just for performing their male role in ‘traditional’ ways, while others (men and women) assert it is precisely those traditions – rooted in patriarchy – that are causing harm to men and to society writ large.  As is often the case, these discussions take place in an environment infused with racial stereotypes that demonize Black masculinity.”

The schedule of events includes:

Friday, June 7 – 5:00 pm – Reception and Art Exhibit featuring Nadraj Nina Holmes at the BHTNH gallery, 222 Court St, Portsmouth, NH

Thursday, June 13 – 6:00 pm – A Softer Side: Reclaiming Black Masculinity an In-person and Virtual Conversation at the Currier Museum, Manchester, 150 Ash St, Manchester, NH – Exhibit and opening reception at 5:30 pm. 

Wed June 19, Portsmouth – Honoring the Ancestors
The key celebration will take place at the African Burying Ground featuring drumming. Traditionally the drum was the heartbeat and soul of African communities, thus holding deep historic and symbolic significance. The drums herald political and social events and ceremonies of birth, death, and marriage. They spark courtships, home-coming and going, and accompany religious rites and rituals that call up ancestral spirits while creating an atmosphere that promotes healing and social resilience.

  • 10:30am African Touch/African Drumming/Children’s Drumming 
  • 11am African Drumming – “A time to praise, a time to honor, a time to heal” 

What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is the oldest known nationally celebrated event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves of the states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” However it was not until June 19, 1865, two years later, when the US Army took possession of Galveston Island in Texas and began a campaign against the defenders of slavery, that the enslaved people in Galveston could begin their journey towards freedom. 

About the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire

The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire promotes awareness and appreciation of African American history and life in order to build more inclusive communities today. They work to visibly honor and share a truer, more inclusive history through exhibits, educational programs, curriculum development, and tours that can change the way our country understands human dignity when it is free of historical stereotypes. Building on the success of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail that started more than two decades ago, the statewide Black Heritage Trail connects the stories of New Hampshire’s African heritage by documenting and making visible many of the historic sites that testify to this rich history.

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