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Special Juneteenth celebration at Pierre Moran

A special double program will take place at Pierre Moran Wednesday, June 19 as a Juneteenth celebration.

The concurrent programs will be going on to give children and adults an educational program that will fit with the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. one side of the library will have a presentation on the Underground Railroad in Elkhart County going on with Patrick McGuire from the Elkhart County Historical Museum.

Also at 6:30 p.m., in the children’s area, there will be a program about how escaped slaves used the stars to guide them on their journey to the north and why Juneteenth is celebrated, followed by a painting activity.

According to McGuire, the history program, titled “Did the Underground Railroad stop in Elkhart County,” is steeped in the museum’s research into local lore and backed up with local accounts, newspaper clippings and other archival documents.

“The compilation is held in our vertical files in our research library and can be accessed by anyone,” says McGuire. “It includes newspaper articles, statements from people, and a number of other sources. “

The first part of the program dives into why it’s hard to prove connections to the Underground Railroad, due to the lawbreaking nature of the route used to help slaves escape, he says.

The second part looks at the local connections, focusing on the Graves et al v. State of Indiana court case, which included events that occurred in Bristol when three men were charged with inciting a riot while tracking what they thought was a runaway slave.

For the children’s program, Pierre Moran children’s librarian Maureen Meagher says she was inspired by the Juneteenth holiday and making the connection with EPL’s Stories in the Stars summer reading program.

“I started thinking about what the stars means to me,” says Meagher. “I remember learning that slaves used the North star to guide themselves and then I thought I should do something for Juneteenth.”

She says that extra books will be available that broach the subject of slavery for children during the program.

Meagher added that doing dual programs allows adults, with or without children, a chance to enjoy a program for them while also making sure that youngsters were taken care of.

“We did an adult and a children’s program when I started here and I thought it could work for this,” she says. “It gives parents a chance to go to something for adults while making sure that their children are taken care of and entertained.”

The event is free and open to the public.