June 29, 2022

Free ‘Juneteenth’ Celebration at Florence Griswold Museum This Afternoon Features Jazz Quartet, Poets

Poet Marilyn Nelson speaks at a 2021 Witness Stones event.

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

The acclaimed Connecticut poets – Marilyn Nelson, Kate Rushin, Rhonda Ward and Antoinette Brim-Bell – will read a verse cycle written in collaboration with the Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership. The poems commemorate 14 African-descended persons once enslaved in Old Lyme.

The internationally-renowned bassist and bandleader Nat Reeves will offer a musical tribute to those once held in bondage in the community.

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

Admission is free. 

The event has received generous support from the Side Door Jazz Club and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the federal ARPA program.

The Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership’s goal is to expand the understanding of local history and honor the humanity and the contributions of those formerly enslaved in the community.

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

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

The Partnership has received generous support from a Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut (HIC) Partnership Grant for Racial Equity.

Witness Stones Old Lyme partnered with The Witness Stones Project, an organization that seeks to restore the history and honor the humanity of the enslaved individuals who helped build our communities.

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

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

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