• Post last modified:June 26, 2024
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Marlborough Cemetery Dedication

Marlborough had its first Juneteenth ceremony on June 22, 2024. It was a beautiful, moving and meaningful event designed to recognize 41 African American residents who were denied burial in the town cemeteries during the 1700s and 1800s (and are buried in unknown locations). Inside the Marlborough Congregational Church, 41 cards were lovingly displayed highlighting the name of each individual with any other information that could be found about them. Outside, Pastor Val Seaver led the memorial service to dedicate a beautiful bench to these 41 individuals at the entrance to Century Cemetery. During the ceremony, each person’s name was read and then the Church bells were rung 41 times by several children. On this date, the Church undid what was considered normal over 100 years ago.

The ceremony was followed by a lecture by Dr. Camesha Scruggs, professor of history at Central Connecticut State University, at the Marlborough Library.

The event was a collaboration of the Marlborough Preservation Society, Richmond Memorial Library, Marlborough Congregational Church, Marlborough Cemetery Committee, Marlborough Economic Development Commission, Dominick and Sons Monument Company of Colchester, and Coalition on Diversity & Equity (CoDE). Funding from the Marlborough Greater Together Community Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving made it possible.

Kudos to all involved, especially Romano Ghirlanda, who had the idea for the project and engaged other community members to make it a reality, and to Jillian LaCaresse and Lisa Seethaler, who volunteered many hours of their time to give these 41 individuals a place in history.

Several CoDE members attended the event and were moved by the depth of the work involved to ‘right a wrong’ in a permanent and respectful manner. A fitting way to commemorate Juneteenth!

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