Sens. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Majority Leader of NYS Senate – (SD35) and Roxanne J. Persaud (SD19) announced on Tuesday an exhibition in the New York State Legislative Office Building entitled “From Slavery to Juneteenth,” which showcases the atrocities of slavery, the fight for freedom and the effects of emancipation.
The exhibition, produced in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library, will be on display on the large wall in The Well of the Legislative Office Building (188 State Street, Albany) from Tuesday, May 31 through Tuesday, June 21.
“In 2020, New York State made Juneteenth a public holiday because it is important that we reflect on our country’s complex history,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Often times, this period in American history is met with trepidation, because it is so painful and the wounds are still felt. But Juneteenth is a significant moment in American history, because, ultimately, it is a celebration of freedom.
“It is my honor to collaborate with Sen. Roxanne Persaud, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library on this exhibit, which will give the public an opportunity to learn about Black Americans journey from slavery to freedom and how it is an intrinsic part of the American story,” she added.
“I am honored to collaborate with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins on this historic exhibition at our State Capitol,” said Guyanese-born Persaud, whose 19th Senate District in Brooklyn includes Canarsie and parts of East New York. “As New Yorkers get ready to commemorate Juneteenth Freedom Day, we remember the atrocities faced by our African ancestors and their struggles for freedom.
“Forcibly removed from their native lands, enslaved, separated from their families and culture, exploited, beaten and killed at whim, the strength and perseverance of these disenfranchised Africans transcended their bondage and limitations,” she added. “This exhibit provides the public with the opportunity to experience the journey to from slavery to freedom.”
Haitian American Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, BPHA caucus chair, noted that June 19th commemorates the day that Union soldiers announced to enslaved Africans Americans that the Civil War had ended, and they were free — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
“In our trying times, it’s important now, more than ever, to acknowledge and honor Black history,” she said. “We must equip ourselves with the knowledge of our past so that we may be better prepared for the future.
“Thanks to the leadership of Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Senator Persaud for highlighting the importance of this holiday,” Solages continued.