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*PHOTOS* Lexington hosts community celebration for Emancipation Day in Massachusetts
*PHOTOS* Lexington hosts community celebration for Emancipation Day in Massachusetts

For immediate release

Members and supporters of the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington during the 4th Annual Quock Walker Day Hike for Freedom. (Photo courtesy of Lex250 Commission)

LEXINGTON – On Saturday, July 6, the Association of Black Citizens of Lexington hosted a community celebration of Massachusetts Emancipation Day, also known as Quock Walker Day.

The day has been observed in Lexington since 2021 and will be recognized as a state holiday by the governor in 2023. It commemorates the Supreme Court decision of July 8, 1783, ending slavery in Massachusetts.

This was the third Quock-Walker case. Walker was a black man from Barre, MA who emancipated himself in 1781 and was declared a free man by a civil court in June 1781 and sentenced to £50 for assault.

The community festival was supported by the Lex250 Commission, organizers of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington in 1775.

Volunteers man a table of colonial and African artifacts during the opening ceremony of Quock Walker Day in Lexington. (Photo courtesy of Lex250 Commission)

“The boldness of Quock Walker is inspiring. His personal gambit was successful because of his involvement in the community and the decision of two white men to pay a black man for his expertise and work. Yeoman Walker and white male juries made the promise that ‘All men are born free and equal’ “Article 1 of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 is becoming a reality,” said ABCL historian Sean D. Osborne.

“The morning Walk for Freedom commemorated Walker’s first walk out of slavery and into the world of work in 1781. The community celebration and the Governor’s Proclamation reminded us that throughout the Massachusetts Bay Colony there were Black farmers, soldiers, artisans and abolitionists who helped lay the foundation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts before, during and after the Revolutionary War,” Mr. Osborne said.

The opening ceremony in Lexington was attended by numerous dignitaries, including State Senator Cindy Friedman, who read the Governor’s Proclamation for Quock Walker Day, State Senator Mike Barrett, State Representative Michelle Ciccolo and Doug Lucente, Chairman of the Lexington Select Board.

“The Lex250 Commission is proud to support Quock Walker Day,” said Suzie Barry, Chair of the Lex250 Commission. “We want to make our country’s 250th birthday unique by celebrating the lesser-known stories of our early history, including those related to emancipation, like Quock Walker Day.”

Live music by Crocodile River Music during the opening ceremony of Quock Walker Day in Lexington. (Photo courtesy of the Lex250 Commission)
The William Diamond Junior Fife & Drum Corps performs during the opening ceremony of Quock Walker Day. (Photo courtesy of the Lex250 Commission)
A West African dance workshop during the opening ceremony of Quock Walker Day. (Photo courtesy of the Lex250 Commission)

By Aurora