History in Celebration

Our Juneteenth Festival is a three-day long celebration of the commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. Partnering with the New London NAACP, OIC New London, and the New London County Historical Society, the Hempsted Houses are home to this yearly community event highlighting the African American history of the Hempsted Houses and the surrounding New London neighborhood.

Join us each day as we engage in activities encouraging conversations about emancipation, cultural awareness, and civic responsibility. Share a conversation over a community campfire; spend the night at the New London County Historical Society Shaw Mansion with Joseph McGill; celebrate Juneteenth with us on Saturday and end the three-day festival with Sunday Services. Explore all activities below and sign up for Juneteenth Festival updates!

Schedule of Events

We invite you to discover what’s happening during our Juneteenth Festival. Learn more about each event, special guests, and register for daily activities, too. Be sure to check back here or sign up for reminders below for updates on activities and times!

Friday, June 7

Campfire Conversation (5:30 pm – 7 pm)

Gather around the campfire for a community conversation to commemorate historic and present-day struggles toward freedom and hear more about the work of Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project.

Sleepover at the New London County Historical Society Shaw Mansion

(7:30 pm – 7:30 am)

Join Joseph McGill as well as staff from the Hempsted Houses and the Shaw Mansion as we continue the conversation about the truthful narrative of American history and the legacies of slavery. The Shaw Mansion was built in 1756 for captain Nathaniel Shaw and was home to ten enslaved people. On his deathbed, Nathaniel Shaw Jr. emancipated all ten enslaved people in 1781. During the conversation, participants will learn about the lives of Caesar Shaw, Celia Shaw, James Tilley, and Prince who were four of the ten enslaved people on the property.

Registration is required and space is extremely limited.

Saturday, June 8

Juneteenth Celebration Day (11 am – 4 pm)

Celebrate Juneteenth with music and dance performances, living history presentations, and children’s activities and crafts. Connecticut Landmarks and partners will highlight the African American history of the Hempsted Houses and the surrounding neighborhood with the City of New London.

Details coming soon!

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in being notified of Juneteenth Festival updates.

Sunday, June 9

Sunday Services (11:30 am – 2:30 pm)

Pastor Michael Cagle leads participants in community for a spiritual and lively non-denominational church service followed by performances by The Jim Hunter Jazz Group and the New London High School Jazz Band.

Fill out the form below if you’re interested in being notified of Juneteenth Festival updates.

Full details for each event can be found on our calendar. To view the calendar, click here.

In partnership with

Generously supported by

The Frank Loomis Palmer Fund

The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut

The Chelsea Groton Foundation, Inc.

Connecticut Explored, Inc.

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