On Sunday, June 19, the city of Yonkers will celebrate Emancipation Day, or Juneteenth, with the opening of the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden at noon. Thirteen years in the making, the project was envisioned by artist Vinnie Bagwell as a tribute to enslaved Africans under generations of the Philipse family, British loyalists during colonial times. After the Revolutionary War and subsequent arrest and deportation of the Philipses, these enslaved people became the first to be freed by law, more than six decades before the Emancipation Proclamation.
Bagwell created backstories for five people to be set on four bases that have been on display in the Yonkers Riverfront Library atrium since March 2021. The permanent location of the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden will be at the southern end of the Hudson River esplanade.
For more, visit enslavedafricansraingarden.org.