Juneteenth: Honoring history

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Barbara Jackson-Bowens doubts she would have made it -- not across the ocean shackled side by side in a slave ship, up the James River to Richmond and then along the riverbank on a 3-mile march from the Manchester dock in the dark.

Yesterday, she came to that riverbank to pay homage to those who did survive. She was among the early arrivals at a Juneteenth celebration commemorating freedom from slavery.

An afternoon of ceremonies, speeches, music and dance preceded a torch-lit walk along the same trail that slaves walked in the years after colonization of Virginia.

Tracing her heritage to African, Cherokee and Dutch ancestors, Jackson-Bowens could claim kinship to all three groups represented at the ceremonies. So, when Upper Mattaponi Chief Kenneth F. Adams reflected on the English arrival in 1607 and its impact on blacks and Indians, "a lot of what he was saying speaks to me," she said.

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