The Juneteenth Holiday weekend begins Friday June 16th and Martha’s Vineyard will be the place to be for celebrations. Juneteenth is a Holiday weekend in remembrance of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. The name is a combination of “June” and “nineteen” to commemorate 19th June 1865 when slaves were proclaimed free in Texas.
Martha’s Vineyard will mark the Holiday by welcoming back the schooner Amistad for a return trip into Vineyard Haven. The schooner last dropped anchor in Vineyard Haven in 2006 and the island is proud to be hosting this infamous ship once again.
The “La Amistad” was a Spanish schooner that was the site of a rebellion by slaves being transported across the Atlantic to Cuba. After the rebellion the boat headed north and was apprehended in US waters and taken to New Haven, Connecticut. The slaves were taken into custody. Their case went to the Supreme Court who found in their favor that they had the right to act as free people and to take action to escape from their kidnapping. The case was a key step in helping the US abolitionist movement.
The welcoming committee for the Amistad on Martha’s Vineyard will include students from Sail MV in Vineyard Haven and the Shenandoah FUEL program.
On Saturday June 17th there will be a talk at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum from historian Timothy Walker about maritime escapes from enslavement. Bill Pinkney, the first captain of the replica Amistad will also be on the island for the events.
Visitors to Martha’s Vineyard for Juneteenth will have the opportunity to tour the Amistad.