Juneteenth Celebration

The Carnegie Historical Museum announces the second annual Juneteenth Celebration of the Underground Railroad in Jefferson County, Iowa.  Juneteenth has become a national holiday to celebrate the day when the last enslaved people in the country were informed of their freedom.  Jefferson County Iowa played a very important part in helping those migrating north from Missouri through Van Buren County and Jefferson County to Richland and Brighton on their way into the northern safe haven states.

This year’s celebration will take place on June 19, 2023 at the Carnegie Historical Museum at 112 South Court Street in Fairfield, Iowa.  Rev. Herb Shafer will be the primary speaker as the event begins at 1:00 p.m. on the second floor of the museum.  Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about the role that Jefferson County served in this important mission of assistance. At 2:30 p.m. there will be a wreath laying ceremony at the Evergreen Cemetery on East Stone Street just east of D Street.  The grave of abolitionist Nancy Yancy will be the location of the wreath laying ceremony.

“Old Fairfield/Evergreen Cemetery has served as Fairfield, Iowa’s central burial ground since the town was founded in 1839.  Thirty miles from the Missouri border, its headstones, memorials and unmarked plots give visitors glimpses into the lives of courageous freedom seekers crossing that border; of formerly enslaved American citizens finding their way from eastern states to new lives in Iowa; of freedmen enlisting in the Union Army upon learning of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation; of conductors and station operators risking fines and imprisonment in this hidden hub of Underground Railroad activity; of young men from Jefferson County volunteering to fight in the war to end slavery; and of a local Congressman sponsoring and rafting the House of Representatives resolution that became the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the United States.  All of them are buried here.”

Please accept this invitation to join us on the afternoon of Monday, June 19th at  the Carnegie Historical Museum at 112 South Court Street beginning at 1:00 PM and at the Evergreen Cemetery at 2:30 PM for the wreath laying as we recognize those who gave so much.