Kennett Sq. to celebrate Juneteenth with schedule of events

On June 19th, 1865, the last group of enslaved Black Americans were freed by the Union Army in Galveston, Texas. White enslavers and local government officials in Galveston refused to tell the enslaved Black population the Civil War was over and they were free. Union troops were brought in to end the remaining pockets of resistance by Confederate troops. That event became known today as Juneteenth.

The Kennett Square Juneteenth Planning Council was created to give Kennett Square a space to celebrate and to educate others about Juneteenth and how intertwined Black history is with the history of Kennett Square and Chester County. This celebration starts on June 11th with Ken Johnston at the Kennett Friends Meetinghouse for “A Pilgrimage to Freedom – Tracing the Steps of Harriett Tubman from Maryland to Canada.”

Ken Johnston, a local Walking Artist and board member of the Kennett Heritage Center, said, “As residents of Chester County come together to celebrate Juneteenth, lest we forget, the memory of those early brave residents across the county who represented the morality of

antebellum America. This Juneteenth, let us all recommit ourselves to freedom and diversity for Chester County by lighting a lantern to illuminate the path forward for our communities.”

The weekend of June 16th to June 18th will feature various events held throughout Kennett Square for all to enjoy. On Friday, June 16th, Longwood Gardens will host a Fashioning Freedom lecture and fashion show.

Saturday, June 17th, will showcase the main event, the Journey To Freedom Celebration. This event will feature different exhibits throughout the day, including, walks, and soul food. The Kennett Underground Railroad Center will open at 9:30 am. Slam Poetry hosted by Kennett Library and Kennett Community Gospel Choir featuring Leon Spencer will occur at Anson B. Nixon Park. And a talk with Dr. Cheryl Gooch and the 54th Massachusetts reenactors at Kennett

Friends Meeting House will close the day.

Lynn Sinclair, founder of the Kennett Heritage Center and Kennett Juneteenth Planning Partner, said, “Since 2020, the Kennett Heritage Center preserves and tells the stories of people and places in Kennett’s development. We’re honored to be part of this celebration.”

Sunday, June 18th, will begin with various religious services followed by an Underground Railroad bus tour, a Bayard Rustin piece by People’s Light, an Open Mic at Kennett Flash hosted by Leon Spencer, and more.

Cheryl Miles, a Juneteenth Planning Council Partners member, described the importance of Juneteenth and commemorating the holiday. “So many still don’t understand the importance of Juneteenth, and this must change. By bringing these events to the community and making them accessible to all, we hope to change the narrative and see more people celebrating.”

Please visit the Cultural Alliance of Chester County website for a full list of Juneteenth events. .

The Kennett Square Juneteenth Planning Council Partners are listed below:

Honorable Leon Spencer – Kennett Community Volunteer

Ken Johnston – Kennett Heritage Center

Joan Holliday – Chester County Public Health Nurse (retired)

Crystal Crampton – Saving Hallowed Grounds / Bucktoe Cemetery / Kennett Underground Railroad Center

Debbie Burston – Kennett Underground Railroad Center

D. Lynn Sinclair – Kennett Heritage Center Cheryl Miles – Kennett Area Community Service Sheila Tekavec – Kennett Area Park Authority

Joe Mulry – Kennett Library Amanda Murphy – Kennett Library Mary Hutchins – Kennett Library

Sophia Hanson – Kennett Community Volunteer Bella Hanson – Kennett Community Volunteer Michael Hahn – The Kennett Flash

Karen Simmons – Chester County Community Foundation Lilly Mercado – Chester County Community Foundation Timmy Nelson – Chester County Community Foundation

For more details about Kennett Square Juneteenth or the Chester County Community Foundation’s philanthropic programs, call (610) 696-8211 or visit

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