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Essential Pieces: An Inclusive Timeline of York County History

250 East Market Street, York, PA 17401

June 19, 2021 - December 31, 2021

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Recurrence: Recurring daily

Location: York County Historical Society Museum


In celebration of Juneteenth (June 19), the York County History Center is presenting a timeline exhibit highlighting the challenges and achievements of African Americans in York County. June 19th or “Juneteenth” is the anniversary of when the news finally reached the Black residents of Texas two and half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all enslaved persons were free. The History Center will be partnering with community organizations in promoting and celebrating Juneteenth, which was made an official state holiday in Pennsylvania by Governor Wolf in 2019.

This interactive exhibit of the Underground Railroad in York County will be on a touch screen monitor and will allow visitors to explore the people and places that made York County an important stop on the road to freedom.

Essential Pieces: An Inclusive Timeline of York County History opened on June 19. The timeline exhibit was designed by community historian and fine artist Ophelia Chambliss. This timeline exhibit, which runs along the perimeter of the Meeting Hall within the Historical Society Museum, features past and current research into local African American history and the stories and images that Ophelia has collected through oral history interviews and scanning events held at the History Center.  Visitors will be encouraged to add their own personal or family history to the timeline.  A digital version of the exhibit will also be available on the York History Center website. 

"Essential Pieces" will be on exhibit through December 31.

Ophelia has worked with the History Center since 2018 on the Share Your History Project.  This project, funded by the York County Community Foundation, has focused on outreach and building relationships to promote preservation and to document history in traditionally underserved communities of York County. These exhibits will increase understanding of the importance of the contributions of African Americans to the history of York County. The History Center will continue to work with Ophelia and other local historians and community organizations to promote preserving family and community history and to make the History Center a welcoming and inclusive place, where everyone feels their history is told and preserved and that their story matters.

Illustration by Ophelia Chambliss. Ophelia describes the artwork as: “A modern day artistic adaptation of the Lewis Miller image that depicts the Black folks in Texas celebrating the news of Juneteenth. The full black silhouette image of the characters is representative of strong Black characters in art.”