On Sunday, July 19 at 2:30 p.m., Battlefield Park will be hosting a special event commemorating Juneteenth.
For some, Juneteenth is known as a second Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom for enslaved people in Texas, which was the last holdout state of the confederacy. It was recognized as a federal holiday last year.
Battlefield Park will commemorate the holiday at Mt. Zion Christian Church, located at 830 Battlefield Memorial Highway, with a Chautauqua Performance from Virgil Covington Jr.
Covington will portray William Wells Brown in a show called “How I Got My Name.”
Brown was the first published African-American novelist and playwright. Born in Montgomery County in 1814, he emancipated himself and traveled to Cincinnati in 1834. He was taken in by a Quaker named Wells Brown, from which he took his name.
“He was able to escape bondage, otherwise known as self-emancipation,” Phillip Seyfrit, curator of the Battle of Richmond Visitors Center, said. “It’s the story of how a slave became a successful person before, during, and after the Civil War.”
William Wells Brown helped freed slaves escape to Canada. After learning to read and write, he became an proud supporter of the temperance and abolitionist movements. After a sojourn to Europe (where his freedom was officially purchased by an English couple), Brown returned back to the United States where he became a doctor.
Richmond Register (newsmemory.com) May 31, 2022 (permission granted)