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Juneteenth commemorates the 19th of June, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger read General order number 3 in Galveston Texas, declaring that all slaves were free. Two men who were under General Granger’s command in Texas are buried in Mount Moor Cemetery in West Nyack, one became pastor of St. Philip’s in Nyack.

Explore this local connection, the debate over civil rights substance vs symbols, and a possible way to commemorate Juneteenth in Rockland County in 2022.

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Nyack Sketch Log: A Tribute for Ellen Jaffee

I am proud to pause for a moment to reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of Ellen Jaffee who represented the 97th Assembly District in Albany for 14 years.

Join the virtual tribute for Ellen on Fri, June 18 at 6:30p. I am honored to be participating on a program that includes Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie and Congressman Mondaire Jones. Click to find info on joining the Zoom event.

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Nyack Sketch Log: Rockland County Civil Rights Hall of Fame

Last Thursday, June 3, I was honored to be inducted into the Rockland County Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the other honorees, Gail Golden, Michael Greco, Martin Langer and Rabia and Dr. Paul Nagin.

I accepted the recognition in the name of my grandmother, and local civic leader, Frances Lillian Avery Batson. Here are my remarks. I have also reposted a column I wrote about my grandmother entitled, Grandmother’s Chair.

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Nyack Sketch Log: Korean War Hero and Ten Civil War Veterans receive Memorial Day Honors at Mount Moor

A Memorial Day service will be held in West Nyack on May 31, 2021 at 10:00am at Mount Moor Cemetery to honor Korean War hero Henry William Cook, Jr. and ten Civil War-era veterans who recently had their headstones replaced.

One vet, Solomon Miller, who witnessed the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, provides a direct connection to the origins of the solemn holiday.

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Nyack Sketch Log: Inaugural Exhibit at Historical Society’s New Museum Features Toni Morrison

An exhibition at the Historical Society of the Nyacks opening on Saturday, May 8, curated by novelist Brenda Ross offers an intimate glimpse into Toni Morrison’s creative process. Toni Morrison: A Retrospective is the inaugural exhibit at the Society’s new museum, which is located one floor above their former home on the ground floor of the historic DePew estate at 50 Piermont. Reservations and masks required. Visit nyackhistory.org for more information.

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Nyack Sketch Log: Krew Keeps Revolutionary Skirmish History Alive

Upper Nyack students formed the Skirmish Krew to preserve the history of a time when British warships fired cannonballs at the farms of Patriots, erecting a marker on North Broadway. Read more to learn about this pivotal period of the Revolutionary War as well as the role that black and indigenous Americans played in the effort to defeat an invading army and establish a constitutional democracy.

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Nyack Sketch Log: Remembering Michael Rogozik

One year ago, just as the pandemic was beginning, Nyack lost a beloved local fixture, Mike Rogozik. Although his death was not caused by COVID-19, the complications of our nation-wide shutdown contributed. Rogozik was an Air Force veteran, artist, and friend of many. On the one year anniversary of Mike’s untimely death, prints and cards emblazoned with his artwork are on sale at Main Street Beat, 95 Main St (organized by Kris Burns, proceeds will go to Soup Angels; printing was donated by Harrington Press).