PORTSMOUTH — As part of day-long activities Saturday celebrating Juneteenth and honoring the lives of Portsmouth slaves, a remembrance ceremony was held at the African Burying Ground Memorial Park on Chestnut Street.
Juneteenth is a celebration in memory of the day slavery was abolished in a small Texas town, three months after the Civil War, on June 19, 1865. The local remembrance ceremony honored ancestors by talking about their lives.
The first event was held at the Middle Street Baptist Church in the morning, with spirituals and sacred song. Then members of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire project and other attendees marched to the African Burying Ground.
The Rev. Arthur Hilson of New Hope Baptist Church opened and closed the ceremony.
“This is a special time and a special day,” Hilson said. “We came over here and were invisible. They hid us and they plowed over us. We are standing on sacred ground and we come here to honor those who are here, our people who labored here and walked these streets.”