Juneteenth and Day of Renewal Celebration

June 19, 2021 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Celebrating Newport's Vibrant African American Culture

Sankofa Community Connection and the Newport Art Museum invite you to join us for the Day of Renewal and Juneteenth Holiday celebration! The event will begin with a flag waving at Newport City Hall, a procession to The Great Friends Meeting House lawn and then on to The Liberty Tree, with storytelling by Raffini of the RI Black Storytellers, music, display of artworks made by community members, and a dedication by Dr. Edward E. Andrews, Associate Professor of History and Classics at Rhode Island College.

The Liberty tree stands at the corner of Farewell Avenue and Thames Street, and although it was named after the Sons of Liberty’s resistance to British taxation in 1765, the Tree had been a well established sacred location for the black slave population in colonial Newport since 1755.

Trees have spiritual significance in many African countries including being a source of healing and regeneration, a sacred space where dead souls reside, and a communal space for celebration and worship. The tree’s majestic size, as well as its proximity to the Common Burial Ground, the final resting place for many black Newporters, made it a significant gathering place. Every June, black elections would be held at The Liberty Tree, naming a “King” or “Governor” who would hold office for one year. Election day was a highly anticipated annual celebration that featured music, dancing, and processions through the streets.

Join us!

Event will begin 11:00 am in front of Newport City Hall for flag waving and procession, continue to The Great Friends Meeting House lawn, and on to The Liberty Tree.