Hosanna School Museum’s Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration Welcomes More than 2,200 Participants

Adrienne Barnes, part of Helping Hands Ministries’ Judah Troop Flag Dancers, helps to open Hosanna School Museum’s Juneteenth with a fiery presentation on June 22. (Photo by Donna Lewis)

Festival featured ‘edu-tainment’ including music, dancers, lectures, re-enactors, book signings, horse rides, crafts, games and more

More than 2,225 participants, more than double the number of visitors from last year, attended Hosanna School Museum’s third annual Juneteenth celebration festival on June 22.

Juneteenth is a nationally recognized day that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States and celebrates African American history and culture. Hosanna School Museum, in Darlington, was the first of three Freedmen’s Bureau schoolhouses erected in Harford County. It is a living schoolhouse museum, attracting visitors from all over the country.

“We showcased an incredible array of ‘edu-tainment’ featuring local talent in both the humanities and arts at this year’s Juneteenth celebration,” said Dr. Iris Leigh Barnes, executive director of Hosanna School Museum. “I was so excited to see more than 2,225 participants, including multigenerational families, celebrating Juneteenth with us. Each year the numbers have doubled from the previous year. My thanks go, too, to the more than 60 volunteers who helped to make it a wonderful day for our guests.”

Dr. Cheryl R. Gooch discusses “Faith to Freedom: Harford to Hinsonville,” the topic of her book about Black Civil War soldiers in Chester County, Pa., at Hosanna School Museum’s Juneteenth celebration on June 22. (Photo by Mike Dixon)

This year’s celebration featured a wide variety of activities including living history presentations with re-enactors portraying Harriet Tubman and Edmonia Highgate, the first teacher at Hosanna School who is also featured at the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Also taking place at the Juneteenth celebration were lectures about Buffalo Soldiers, Cupid Paca and McComas Institute. Dr. Cheryl R. Gooch spoke about “Faith to Freedom: From Harford to Hinsonville” and followed with a signing of her book, “Hinsonville’s Heroes: Black Civil War Soldiers of Chester County, Pennsylvania.” Constance Beims and Christine Tolbert also signed their book, “A Journey Through Berkley,” at Juneteenth.

The celebration featured dance and musical performances by the Judah Troop Flag Dancers of Helping Hands Ministries; a mime dance by Zeno Jones, also of Helping Hands Ministries; a step routine by the Harford County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Rhema Praise; Anointed Ones Praise Dancers from Helping Hands Ministries; and Devonna Rowe and Victoria Stanley, who performed “400 Years of Perseverance through Music.”

Zeno Jones from Helping Hands Ministries performs a mime routine that expresses the various meanings of freedom at the Juneteenth celebration June 22 at Hosanna School Museum. (Photo by Mike Dixon)

Special activities for children included griots (storytellers), horse rides, face painting, photos with Buffalo Soldiers, and crafts and games.

Hosanna School Museum partnered on the celebration with the Harford County Panhellenic Council of Greek fraternities and sororities and the historic Hosanna AME Church. Sponsors of Juneteenth include Harford County Government and the Harford County Office of Community and Economic Development, New Hope Baptist Church, Harford Community College, McComas Funeral Home, Bel Air Construction, APGFCU, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Xi Delta Omega Chapter) and Island Spice Restaurant.

For more information about Hosanna School Museum or to make a donation in support of the history and culture of Harford County through the lens of the African American experience, visit hosannaschoolmuseum.org.

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