Juneteenth, traditionally celebrated on June 19, acknowledges the day in June of 1865 when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, carrying news that the Civil War had ended and that those still enslaved were to be freed.
On June 2 from 11 AM to 3 PM, Historic Huguenot Street will honor its community’s Black veterans with a Juneteenth celebration consisting of live musical performances, a community cookout, educational tours, and a living history program with Civil War era reenactors of the NY US Colored Troops.
Free programming includes performances from professed Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah, living history demonstrations from members of the 20th NY US Colored Infantry, and an exhibit of archival material relating to the life and accomplishments of Jacob Wynkoop and his family, a black Civil War veteran and one of the first black community members born free in New Paltz.
Based in Johnson City, TN, Amythyst Kiah’s commanding stage presence is only matched by her raw and powerful vocals—a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past. Accoutered interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band (Her Chest of Glass), Amythyst’s toolbox is augmented by her scholarship of African-American roots music. Her eclectic influences span decades, drawing heavily on old time music, inspired by strong R&B and country music vocalists from the '50s-‘70s, and influenced by contemporary artists with powerful vocal integrity. Recent tours in Scotland and the U.K. have seen Amythyst performing for audiences at the Americana Music Association UK Showcase, the Southern Fried Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and SummerTyne Americana Festival. She is a crowd favorite at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in the U.S., has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. Amythyst will perform two sets at Juneteenth at 11:30 AM and 1:15 PM.
The NY USCT is a fully equipped Civil War living history group that portrays the unique and distinct African heritage soldiers of the USCT. The NY USCT portrays the 20th, 26th, and 31st regiments that fought in the American Civil War. Through a mini-encampment that encompasses period artifacts, weaponry, and accoutrements USCT living history group will take visitors on a spectacular time travel journey into the era of American Civil War to explore and learn untold stories and the meaning of the history of Juneteenth. Families and children will be able to interact with living historians, hear their stories, and participate in a demonstration of a mock firing of a period naval cannon. For this event, they will be portraying the NY 20th USCT – the same regiment that New Paltz resident Jacob Wynkoop fought in during the Civil War.
Jacob Wynkoop, born free in the town of New Paltz, was also a carpenter and constructed a number of homes on and around Huguenot Street, some of which still stand today. He will be honored and highlighted at this event through a free public exhibit on display in the Visitor Center, and two walking tours that will lead visitors to a number of the homes that he constructed. The Wynkoop Walking Tours will take place at 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM. Tours will begin at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center.
General admission tickets for the tour are $10. Discounts are available for HHS members, seniors, students, and children under the age of 13. Active military members and veterans may attend the tour for free.
Food & Drink
Interested attendees should pre-register for this free event in order to give HHS an approximate head count for catering, provided by 3 Ball BBQ out of Albany. Visitors will be able to purchase food stubs in the Visitor Center. Menu items will include:
BBQ pork chops
Red velvet cookie