Posted on Jun 17, 2010

In honor of Juneteenth, a nationwide celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, a program will be held in Vale Cemetery on Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m.

Moses Viney

The event takes place in the Ancestral Burial Ground section and includes oratory and song, featuring a performance by Walter Simkins. Simkins portrays runaway slave Moses Viney, who escaped north from Maryland on the Underground Railroad. He became a chauffeur and close personal friend to Eliphalet Nott, then the president of Union College.

An ice cream social follows the program, which officially marks the opening of the 10th annual Juneteenth celebration presented by Hamilton Hill Arts Center. The festivities continue on Saturday and Sunday in Schenectady’s Central Park with workshops, vendors, arts and crafts for children, and activities for the whole family.

Juneteenth is the oldest, nationally celebrated commemoration of the abolition of slavery. Originally held in Galveston, Texas in 1865, the annual observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has become tradition across the country.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call Hamilton Hill at 346-1262.