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Ewing Township Hosts Inaugural Juneteenth Flag Raising Ceremony

Ewing Township proudly celebrated its first Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony today at the Ewing Township Municipal Building.

This significant event marks Ewing’s commitment to recognizing the historical and cultural importance of Juneteenth, fostering a more inclusive and just community.

mayorLed by Mayor Bert H. Steinmann, the ceremony featured inspiring and personal remarks from notable guest speakers Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck, notable historians, authors and community leaders, particularly known for their work in uncovering and preserving African American history in New Jersey. Authors of the acclaimed book "If These Stones Could Talk," Mills and Buck, co-founders of the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM), shared insights from their extensive research, tracing the lineage of and putting names to their enslaved ancestors in the region.

Said Mayor Steinmann, “This is an important day for Ewing Township. Our community is one of the most diverse in Mercer County, and almost one third of our residents identify as Black or African American.

“I am privileged to lead a community as culturally dynamic as Ewing and to celebrate the contributions of our residents. As a community, it is our responsibility to acknowledge and reflect on the struggles and triumphs that have shaped our journey toward equality and justice. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of freedom; it is a reminder of the resilience, strength, and contributions of African Americans throughout our history. Let’s continue to learn from our past, celebrate our progress, and work toward a brighter, more equitable future for all.”

Pastor Tyrone Perkins of Central Church offered a heartfelt invocation, setting a reflective tone for the event and reminding attendees that the day’s heat was probably nothing compared to the heat in Galveston, Texas, when word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached the last enslaved people there. Council President Kevin Baxter delivered a poignant speech discussing his personal connection to the past, sharing stories of his ancestors who were sharecroppers and highlighting the precarious nature of their existence. President Baxter also shared the meaning behind the symbols of the Juneteenth Freedom flag and encouraged all Ewing residents to show love to one another.

Also in attendance were Councilwoman Sarah Steward and Mercer County Commissioner Terrence Stokes, a resident of Ewing. Their presence underscored the unified support from local government officials in honoring this historic day.

From the Ewing Historic Preservation Society, Becky Urban and Joann Durham were on hand to promote a new permanent exhibit at the Benjamin Temple House. The exhibit, called “Blacks in Ewing, from Slavery to the Civil War,” explains that New Jersey was the last northern state to completely abolish slavery.

Juneteenth, observed annually on June 19th, commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, marking the effective end of slavery in the United States. The flag-raising event in Ewing serves as a powerful reminder of this historical milestone and a celebration of the enduring spirit of freedom.  

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