SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – On Sunday, June 30 from 11:00p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on July 1, 2019 the Department of Culture will commemorate Emancipation Day celebrations with a re-enactment of the Diamond Estate 26 Run for Freedom.
This year’s event is entitled “64,000 We Have A Name” in tribute to the 64,000 enslaved men, women, and children that were liberated from slavery within the Dutch Kingdom on July 1, 1863. The ‘Run for Freedom’ will take place at 12:01 AM on July 1, 2019 on the grounds of the former Diamond Estate located on Union Road across the round-about at the end of the Simpson Bay Causeway.
The Diamond Estate was a plantation on the border between Cole bay and Bellevue, Marigot that on May 29, two days after the abolishment of slavery was announced on the French side, 26 slaves ran to their freedom. This event is described in detail in our national archives.
His Excellency the Governor, the honorable President of Parliament, Prime Minister and Minister of Culture will address the masses with personal reflections on freedom and symbolic wreath laying. The event will consist of 4 chapters including the re-enactment of the slave run and resulting resistance, invocations, freedom songs, spirit guides, living statues and performances wholly inspired from the pages of the archives. There will be detailing of events dating far back as 1835 and a reading of the original 1863 Proclamation of the Abolition of Slavery. The 64,000-honor roll call of freed and enslaved persons will conclude the ceremony.
Rehearsals involved numerous members of the community who volunteered as vocalists for the Emancipation Day Choir, as well as dancers for the Ponum dance, drummers and actors that bring to life words and dramatizations from the historical texts. There is a sense of urgency to present this reenactment, as future re-enactments may not be possible due to the large-scale commercial development that has already began taking place.
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