Carlisle Juneteenth Writing Contest

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery.  This year’s Carlisle celebration recognizes Elias Parker. 

What is now an abandoned church was once the spiritual and social hub of a black faith community in Mount Holly Springs from 1870 to 1970. Located on Cedar Street, Mount Tabor Church was constructed by Elias Parker, a Baptist minister and former enslaved person who moved from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Cumberland County after serving with the U.S. Colored Troops regiment during the Civil War. Mount Tabor formed an enclave that served as a refuge for recently freed blacks seeking a fresh start. Census data shows that by 1880 about 13 families had moved north from Georgia, Maryland and Virginia to settle in Mount Holly Springs. It was believed they were drawn to the town by the lure of work and the existence of an already established African-American community. (The Sentinel, February 21, 2020)

The writing prompt for the June 20, 2020 celebration:

 A fresh start can be scary when you’re starting as a newcomer so far away from where you grew up. Elias Parker was a Civil War Veteran who put his life on the line for his country. Life after the Civil War was hard for recently freed black families. In this case, 13 families moved from Georgia, Maryland, and Virginia to live in Mt. Holly Spring, Pennsylvania. These families lived, worked, and worshiped together with little interaction with their white neighbors. How do you welcome new families to your neighborhood? How do you welcome new students to your school? How do you welcome new families to your church, synagogue, mosque, or other places of worship? How did the new family react to your welcoming efforts? How did being welcoming to a new family make you feel?