First of August Celebration (1855)

First of August Celebration (1855)

  • <p>"Immediate Emancipation; In the West Indies; Aug. 1st, 1838." Courtesy of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division. New York Public Library Digital Collections.</p> <p></p>
  • <p>"Pagoda, Clifton Park, Staten Island." Courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. New York Public Library Digital Collections.</p> <p></p>

Audio clip: Stephen Meyers First of August Keynote Speech read by Marguerite Rivas

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The First of August Celebration is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people of African descent by the British Empire.

August 1, 1855 more than five thousand African American Staten Islanders and guests gathered at the Pagoda in Clifton Park to celebrate the West India Emancipation Day or “First of August” celebrations with an extraordinary emancipation jubilee! It was organized by Alexander Crummell, the keynote speaker was Stephen A. Meyers, and other important attendees included Dr. James McCune Smith (images below).

  • <p>Stephen Myers. Image courtesy of</p>
  • <p>Image courtesy of</p>
  • <p>Alexander Crummell. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.</p>