June 19 is Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States while celebrating African-American history and culture. Johnstown’s African-American community has a rich history that many people are seeking to better document and explore. The African American Heritage Society (AAHS), along with JAHA, is continuing its efforts to open an education and research space at the Heritage Discovery Center to be an epicenter of this work. Learn more about the organization here.
To commemorate Juneteenth, we invite you to watch the short documentary “We’ll Make the Journey,” which was produced in 1992 by the National Park Service as part of the America’s Industrial Heritage Project. The film recounts the experiences of many African-Americans who came to Johnstown during the Great Migration. Their stories reveal what it was like to come to a new place, and the challenges and successes that accompanied this effort.
We are committed to exploring all facets of local African-American history. We have explored the larger legacy of the Johnstown community and its continued impact, alongside more difficult histories. And today, as the entire nation becomes more aware of this history and more aware of the need to address still unresolved issues, it is important to find new ways to tell these stories. We hope you will stay tuned to see more of what the AAHS and JAHA plans to offer.