Free ‘Juneteenth’ celebration at the Florence Griswold Museum this afternoon with a jazz quartet and poets

Poet Marilyn Nelson speaks at a Witness Stones event in 2021.

OLD LYME – The Witness Stones Poets will join the Nat Reeves Quartet in a June 19 jazz and poetry festival on the lawn of the Florence Griswold Museum on Saturday afternoon June 18 at 2 p.m.

Acclaimed Connecticut poets – Marilyn Nelson, Kate Rushin, Rhonda Ward and Antoinette Brim-Bell – will read a cycle of verse written in collaboration with the Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership. The poems commemorate 14 people of African descent who were once enslaved at Old Lyme.

Internationally acclaimed bassist and bandleader Nat Reeves will offer a musical tribute to those who were once held in bondage in the community.

Juneteenth is a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The celebration takes place outside from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. A limited number of places are offered. Lawn chairs or blankets for additional outdoor seating are recommended.

Free entry.

The event was generously supported by the Side Door Jazz Club and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Bureau of the Arts, which also receives support from the federal ARPA program.

The goal of the Old Lyme Witness Stones partnership is to broaden understanding of local history and to honor the humanity and contributions of former slaves to the community.

Founding members of the partnership include Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, Florence Griswold Museum, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools and First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

Community partners include Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Lymes Youth Services Office and Old Lyme Historical Society.

The partnership was generously supported by a Racial Equity Partnership Grant from the Southeastern Connecticut Health Improvement Collaborative (HIC).

Witness Stones Old Lyme has partnered with The Witness Stones Projectan organization that seeks to restore history and honor the humanity of the slaves who helped build our communities.

For more information, visit https://www.witnessstonesoldlyme.org.

Editor’s note: The Florence Griswold Museum is located at 96 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, CT.

About Bobby F. Lopez

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