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Juneteenth celebration planned at three locations in Red Bank

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RED BANK – On June 19, Red Bank will celebrate Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and to ensure those enslaved were freed.

The troops arrived more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. The proclamation only freed slaves in Confederate territories, according to a press release from the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.

Juneteenth is a day that honors the sacrifices and triumphs of African American people and the importance of preserving that history, according to the press release.

The celebration will begin at noon at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 172 Shrewsbury Ave., for a community solidarity march.

At 1:30 p.m., the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, 94 Drs James Parker Blvd., will provide a presentation about cultural awareness, featuring the cultural center’s newest exhibit, “The Fabric of Our Lives: A Textile Cultural Experience.”

The Two River Theater’s Costume Department is working with Gilda Rogers on the exhibit.

Visitors can expect to see a vintage 1916 hand-cranked Singer sewing machine, similar to what Carrie Fortune, who was T. Thomas Fortune’s wife and a seamstress, would have used.

The exhibit will feature artistic quilts by Gloria Douglas and Michelle Lewis, who call themselves Storytellers in Cloth. They founded a quilting retreat in 1995 for women of color to express themselves artistically.

The art of quilting is a black tradition dating back to slavery when quilts were used as a compass to help those escaping to freedom. Today the quilts can be found in museums across the country, according to the press release.

The exhibit will include a children’s corner and a video presentation by the Smithsonian American Art Museum featuring artist Bisa Butler.

The exhibit will take place at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. starting June 19 and continuing into the fall.

A $10 suggested donation for viewing the exhibit will help the cultural center in its mission to engage the community with informative public programming, according to the press release.

The day’s events will conclude with a community celebration at Johnny Jazz Park (pocket park), 270 Shrewsbury Ave., hosted by the Red Bank Recreation Department.

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