A unique Juneteenth tour of the North Country

AuSABLE CHASM — A Juneteenth celebration in the North Country will be held June 17 through 19, telling stories of the region’s role in the fight against slavery, as well as prominent anti-slavery Quakers and abolitionist John Brown.

Juneteenth recalls the excitement that slaves in Texas felt after learning, nearly two years after the Civil War, that they were free. They immediately began to celebrate. The Colors of Freedom tour will be a unique way for families and visitors alike to experience the struggles that took place in this area.

Clinton and Essex counties were at the center of the roiling abolition controversies before the Civil War, helping many freedom-seekers fleeing enslavement to follow the Lake Champlain corridor to Canada in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s. The tour will trace those controversies, ranging from AuSable Chasm to Peru to Elizabethtown, and then Lake Placid where Brown is buried.

The Colors of Freedom tour will feature seven different stops with reenactors, music, food and celebrations of the freedom spirit in Clinton and Essex counties. It is sponsored by the North Star Underground Railroad Museum, John Brown Lives!, the Adirondack History Museum, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Clinton County Historical Association and the State University of New York Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This tour involves museums, historic sites, original reenactments and musical entertainment.

On Saturday, June 17, the Colors of Freedom tour will start at 9 a.m. at the Strand Theater in Plattsburgh. People will visit the Keeseville Baptist Cemetery, Quaker Union and Stephen Keese Smith’s farm. Attendees will travel to Elizabethtown Courthouse to hear John Brown’s last speech to the court at 1 p.m. The tour costs $10 per person or $20 for a family pass. Pre-registration is required.

On Sunday, June 18, John Brown Farm in Lake Placid will host a celebration of freedom with music and a Black Lives Matter display.

On Monday, June 19 there will be a screening of the documentary “Songs of Slavery and Emancipation” and a question-and-answer session with filmmaker, musician and author Mat Callahan at Lake Flower Landing, 421 Lake Flower Ave., Saranac Lake. The cost is $5 per person.

Buy tickets or get more details at https://northcountryundergroundrailroad.com/forms/web/colors-of-freedom-tour-registration-2023.php. This event is made possible, in part, by the Essex County Arts Council’s Cultural Assistance Program Grant with funding provided by Essex County.


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