Schenck Park is named after the Schenck family, one of the largest enslaving families in colonial Kings County. In the 18th and 19th centuries the park was an African burial ground. Assemblyman Charles Barron and City Councilwoman Inez Barron have pioneered efforts to have the site officially recognized.
Schenck Park Commemoration as an African burial ground is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4 at 2pm behind the New Lots Library located at 665 New Lots Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207.
Highlighting the Pinkster themes of self-reliance, supporting others, self-assertion, and community, 5 Boros to Freedom looks to celebrate these themes through a variety of program offerings to be held in each of the five boroughs on June 3-16, 2019. Originally a Dutch religious holiday brought to New York City by Dutch colonists, Africans transformed Pinksterfest into an African festival that came to be known as Pinkster and which was enjoyed by an eclectic mix of young and old, African and European, enslaved and free, and Native Americans. Drawing upon African cultural traditions, Pinkster provided the occasion for creation of a social space and communal identity. Pinkster was banned in New York State in 1811 out of fear of the gathering of large numbers of celebrants in one location at one time. 5 Boros to Freedom intends to revive and renew this community celebration, honoring the communal ancestors, paying tribute to their fortitude and courage, and drawing strength from them as we celebrate these themes of self -reliance, supporting others, self-assertion and community in the present.
5 Boros to Freedom is an extension of the work of Underground Railroad History Project with the intention of supporting and celebrating community engagement with the rich African American history that resides in the five boroughs of New York City as we reclaim and celebrate the silenced voices of our communal ancestors, drawing upon their strength to carry on our work for justice today.