KENILWORTH, NJ — On Saturday, June 3, the Kenilworth Historical Society will present a colorful, enlightening program celebrating African American culture and the significance of the Juneteenth holiday, which annually commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It will feature an inspiring interactive visit with renowned anti-slavery abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, c. 1797-1883, as portrayed by acclaimed actress and historical interpreter Dr. Daisy Nelson Century.
The planned Juneteenth program and celebration will take place at the historic Oswald J. Nitschke House, 49 South 21 St., Kenilworth, starting at 1 p.m. Traditional Juneteenth foods will be served. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Advance registration is requested, as seating is limited. The Nitschke House has an elevator and is fully accessible. For information and reservations, call 908-709-0434.
Participants in the program, which has universal value for all cultures and age groups, will have the opportunity to learn about Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, as well as the historical significance of the Juneteenth holiday, which annually on June 19 commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, N.Y., but escaped to freedom with her infant daughter in 1826. After going to court to recover her son in 1828, she became the first black woman to win such a case against a white man. She continued to fight on behalf of women and African Americans until her death.
The Saturday, June 3, program at the Nitschke House is being made possible in part by a 2023 HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of County Commissioners. The Kenilworth Education Association F.A.S.T. Committee is generously contributing food for the event.
Proceeds will benefit the Kenilworth Historical Society’s Oswald J. Nitschke House, c. 1880, a “living history” museum and cultural arts center, by helping defray operating and programming costs.
Century is a Philadelphia-based educator, actress, historical interpreter, motivational speaker, author and radio talk show host. She holds a bachelor’s degree in science, master’s degree in education and a doctorate in education and has taught for more than 20 years in the Philadelphia School System as an award-winning science teacher. Her acting career has included lead roles in several independent movies and an affinity for history led to her successful profession as a historical interpreter who travels throughout the United States, effectively portraying such historical figures as Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Mary Fields, Phyllis Wheatley, Hatshepsut, Madame CJ Walker and Bessie Coleman. As an author, she has penned four books: “Belle,” “Ms. Emmaline’s Little Book of Wit and Wisdom,” “Zach and His Lucky Zebra Socks” and “Deedle, Deedle Your House is on Fire!”