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America Unfinished: Juneteenth Event at Longfellow House to Remember Those Who Endured Slavery

June 16 @ 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm


June 16
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
105 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

The third annual Juneteenth Gathering at Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will include poetry and music, and feature remarks from descendants of those who fought for their freedom on the eve of the American Revolution.

For Immediate Release: May 28, 2024
Contact: Mark Powell, mark_powell@nps.gov, 339-240-8949

Date & Time: Sunday, June 16, 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: 105 Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On Sunday, June 16, Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will host its annual Juneteenth Gathering to honor those who endured slavery and seized freedom at the dawn of the American Revolution.

Through music, poetry, and speeches, the event will focus on the voices of descendants of people who were enslaved at the site on Brattle Street approximately 250 years ago.

The event, scheduled to run from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., also will honor the proud history of Black freedom activism in Cambridge, greater New England, and beyond.

“The legacies of enslavement and freedom activism in New England are still being researched at the Longfellow House today,” said Site Manager Chris Beagan. “It’s been an honor to observe Juneteenth with the descendants of Cuba and Tony Vassall and the Cambridge community since 2022. The Juneteenth Gathering is an opportunity for neighbors to come together to build a more inclusive understanding of our past and present.”

The June 16 event is part of a wider national engagement effort known as Civic Season, which unites the United States’ oldest Federal holiday, Independence Day, with its newest, Juneteenth, as an opportunity to build civics skills and remember “the struggles and hard-won victories in our ongoing journey.”

Details for the free, all-ages event include:

  • 12:30 to 12:50 p.m.:
    • Introduction/welcome speeches
  • 12:50 to 2:00 p.m.:
    • Juneteenth # Pop-Up Poetry, A Denise Plays Hard Event, including:
      • Drum procession with Chibuzo Dunun
      • Libation + Lift Every Voice and Sing
      • Music + poetry, Denise Washington & Akili Jamal Haynes
    • 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.:
      • Interactive history and family activities
      • Refreshments
      • Partner/resource tables
      • Juneteenth StoryWalk

The Juneteenth Gathering at Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site is part of the site’s commemoration of America’s 250th, as well as the National Park Service initiative “Unfinished: America at 250.”

“Unfinished” is a partnership of historical and cultural institutions, National Park Service sites, historians, and changemakers. This partnership harnesses the stories of the past and activates historic spaces to provoke community conversations about the ongoing American Revolution. This series commemorates the founding of the nation in resonant, bold, and inclusive ways, empowering everyone to see themselves in the unfinished story and broaden understandings of the past to build a better future.

About Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site:
Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site (Cambridge, MA) preserves a remarkable Georgian house whose occupants shaped the nation. It was a site of colonial enslavement and community activism, George Washington’s first long-term headquarters of the American Revolution, and the place where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his canon of 19th-century American literature. Grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. From May 24 through October 28, 2024, the site is open for free, ranger-led house tours every Friday through Monday. More at www.nps.gov/longfellow.

About America’s 250th Anniversary
Over the next several years, the National Park Service joins the nation in commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The aspirational vision in the Declaration defines the ideals that – together with the U.S. Constitution – set the nation on a course of continued work toward a more perfect union. Throughout the commemoration, the National Park Service will serve the American people by embracing its mission to provide opportunities for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The National Park Service will help inspire “a more perfect union” by providing opportunities for celebrating, commemorating, and contemplating the meanings of the words in the Declaration and their relevance to our lives today. The National Park Service welcomes visitors to explore history through parks and programs. More at http://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/usa-250.htm.