The celebration honoring Juneteenth co-hosted by the Durand-Hedden House and the SOMA Community Coalition on Race on the grounds of the Durand-Hedden House, drew more than 500 people of all ages, and smiles covered faces from one end of Grasmere Park to the other. The afternoon featured four historical reenactors, a storyteller, children’s activities, a vocalist, and a band of African drummers, as well as an exhibit on the History of Slavery in New Jersey and an art exhibit.
This is the third major Juneteenth event the two organizations have sponsored since 2019, and the excitement has been growing each year. It even drew the attention of NBC-TV news, which featured the celebration on the news that evening.
The historical reenactors included:
Daniel Carlton, portraying John Parker, a formerly enslaved person who became a conductor on the Underground Railroad
Dr. Daisy Century, interpreting Cathay Williams, the first Black woman to join the US Army
Teretha Jones, reenacting Mrs. Elizabeth Keckley, seamstress and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln
Algernon S. Ward, reenacting a sergeant in the 6 th Regiment US Colored Troops