Not just another Hallmark holiday

by Keesha Dixon, Juneteenth Festival Co-Chair

Juneteenth? What does that mean? Well, you are in luck! This is an actual holiday that doesn’t require gifts, candy or flowers. Whew! On June 19, 1865, the end of the Civil War officially freed all of the country’s slaves. Juneteenth, a combination of the words June and nineteenth, is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

A bit of background … Though the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves officially on Jan. 1, 1863, It was several years before the news reached slaves in Texas, a Confederate state. But in June of 1865, Texas slaves learned of their new freedom. Officially, Juneteenth is on June 19, but the Indiana State Museum is having its Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Juneteenth Festival will encourage family and friends to celebrate freedom and diversity with arts and crafts, music, storytelling and more. There will be music by Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise and Staci McCrackin & Euphony. Storyteller extraordinaire Stevi Butler, spoken word artist Rehema McNeil and visual artist Walter Lobyn Hamilton will discuss and present their work. There will be craft activities, a Community Organization Fair, documentaries and Civil War re-enactors too!

I hope we will see you at the Indiana State Museum on June 23!

Have EP, will travel

102209_epRecently, the Emancipation Proclamation (EP) from the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection had to travel from its home at the Indiana State Museum to the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) for an important event. The EP, along with one of the last completed portraits of Lincoln, were featured artifacts for the Lincoln Collection opening event at ACPL. Visitors invited to the ACPL opening event were able to get an up close and personal viewing of this rare document and painting along with numerous other artifacts from the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the State of Indiana.

Collections assistant Meredith McGovern and Lieutenant Dean Jenkins with the Emancipation Proclamation.

Collections assistant Meredith McGovern and Lieutenant Dean Jenkins with the Emancipation Proclamation.

The importance and rarity of this one-of-a-kind document require that it have special handling for its travel to Ft. Wayne and then back to Indianapolis. So, with a quick call to the Department of Natural Resources Conservation office department, the problem was solved. DNR Conservation officers traveled with Indiana State Museum staff members who were couriering the important artifacts to and from Ft.Wayne. These conservation officers provided necessary security for the document and painting during their travels. Lieutenant Dean Jenkins provided security for Meredith McGovern, museum collection manager, during the return trip from ACPL. There are no plans in the immediate future for the Emancipation Proclamation to travel again because it will soon be on exhibit at the Indiana State Museum in With Charity for All, opening Feb. 12, 2010.

More information about the EP and portrait of Lincoln, along with the other artifacts in the Lincoln Financial Foundation collection, can be found in the Indiana State Museum online collection database.

The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection was given to the State of Indiana in December 2008 by the Lincoln Financial Foundation. The Indiana State Museum is home to the historic objects and art while most of the books, documents and photographs reside at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne.

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