To celebrate the town’s newly installed Witness Stones, the Old Lyme Witness Stones Partnership will hold a series of events in June. All events are free to the public and take place rain or shine.
Traces of the Trade Screening and
Discussion with Constance & Dain Perry Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, 2 Library Lane, Old Lyme CT Thursday, June 2, 3-6pm
In Traces of the Trade, film producer Katrina Browne tells the story of her forebears — the deWolf family, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. The film follows Browne and nine family members as they retrace the triangle trade and begin to think about how to address legacies of racial violence and the meaning of reconciliation. Dain and Constance Perry, who traveled on the pilgrimage, will lead a discussion following a showing of the film. The deWolf family’s role in the slave trade started in Old Lyme, where sawmill owner and carpenter Edward deWolf enslaved Mingo before 1704. Today, a Witness Stone placed at the Sill Lane green remembers Mingo’s contributions to the development of the early town.
Witness Stones Old Lyme Installation Ceremony: A Celebration of Music and Poetry
Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library, 2 Library Lane, Old Lyme CT Friday, June 3, 10am
The community is invited to gather on the Lawn of the Old Lyme Library to celebrate the second installation of Witness Stones on Lyme Street, extending this year to McCurdy Road. The program will include music, poetry, and words from community partners and guest speakers. World-renowned soprano Lisa Williamson and acclaimed saxophonist and U.S. Coast Guard Band conductor Richard Wyman will provide music. Twelve members of the Old Lyme Middle School chorus, led by Laura Ventres, will also contribute to the program. Seventh-grade students from the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School will read biographical poems they wrote to tell the life stories of Harry Freeman and Margaret Crosley Lewia. Using primary documents, the students researched these two enslaved town residents, making the story of local slavery tangible, personal, and relevant to their own lives.
Juneteenth Celebration of Jazz & Poetry Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme CT Saturday, June 18, 2pm
In 2021, the Old Lyme Witness Stones Project partnered with four distinguished Connecticut poets, Marilyn Nelson, Kate Rushin, Rhonda Ward, and Antoinette Brim-Bell, who created a tribute in verse to those remembered with Lyme Street plaques. The verse cycle, which brings vividly to life experiences, attitudes, and emotions long ignored and then forgotten, appeared in the prestigious Poetry magazine in November 2021.
In honor or Juneteenth—a federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans—this celebration will feature music by the Nat Reeves Jazz Quartet and readings by the Witness Stones Poets on the grounds of the Florence Griswold Museum, a former site of enslavement.
The event has received generous support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the federal ARPA.