Did You Know?
Members of the Rocky Hill Congregational Church owned enslaved persons. There is evidence remaining today that enslaved persons were segregated in the balcony area known as the "slave galley". A portion of that area can be found in the balcony behind a closed door next to the choir loft entrance. See picture to your far right ------->
Click the red link to the right to read a short history of the era by Town Historian Bob Herron.
Ruby Bridges, the little girl pictured in this famous painting by Norman Rockwell which depicts her first day of school in a soon to be integrated school in Mississippi just published a new book Ruby Bridges This Is Your Time. NPR's Scott Simon interviewed her on NPR. Click here to listen to the six minute interview.
In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared more than three million slaves living in the Confederate states to be free. More than two years would pass, however, before the news reached African Americans living in Texas. It was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that the state’s residents finally learned that slavery had been abolished. The former slaves immediately began to celebrate with prayer, feasting, song, and dance.
The following year, on June 19, the first official Juneteenth celebrations took place in Texas. The original observances included prayer meetings and the singing of spirituals, and celebrants wore new clothes as a way of representing their newfound freedom. Within a few years, African Americans in other states were celebrating the day as well, making it an annual tradition. Celebrations have continued across the United States into the 21st century and typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with music, food, and dancing.
Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1980, and a number of other states subsequently followed suit. In 2021 Juneteenth was made a federal holiday. The day is also celebrated outside the United States, being used by organizations in a number of countries to recognize the end of slavery and to honor the culture and achievements of African American