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Freedom Run 2015

page9b40~ Participate in history ~

This year, we celebrate the 152nd anniversary of St. Maarten's Abolishment of Slavery. Mark the occasion by participating in the re-enactment of Diamond 26 Escape from Slavery – "Run For Freedom." Come in period dress for a midnight run through the hills, dance the Ponum and give thanks for freedom and emancipation!

The Diamond 26 Escape is a historical event that took place on May 28, 1848, when 26 of the enslaved people from the Diamond Plantation in Cole Bay ran into the hills of St. Maarten to the freed north which had declared the abolishment of Slavery on May 27, 1848.

National Institute of the Arts (NIA) has been commissioned by the Island Government to create a production to honour the occasion. Working collaboratively, and with permission from Mr. Louis Constance Fleming to use the family land, Conscious Lyrics Foundation and SOS Radio plan to repeat the first re-enactment which was a huge success 10 years ago.

NIA invites the public to not only attend, but participate: "Please come and join us in this re-enactment that will begin on June 30 at 11:00pm at Caribbean Auto in Cole Bay and will end around 1:00am on Emancipation Day, July 1, at Belleview at the Frontier Monument. We will march through the hills to the north, tracing the footsteps of our ancestors as we make a Run For Freedom in commemoration of those brave individuals that made that pivotal decision not to endure enslavement."

At the end of the walk/run, the assembly will perform the Ponum Dance. Those who would like to take part can learn the historical dance at NIA (John Larmonie Center, Philipsburg) at 7:30pm Monday, June 29.

This event is open to all children teens and adults. NIA requests everyone who comes out for the Freedom Run to dress in period costumes, organizer Clara Reyes was clear to WEEKender during a phone conversation: "No sneakers! Barefoot or sandals, long skirts, hair tied up. Bring lanterns or candles. No phones!" When asked about the rough terrain, she replied, "The enslaved didn't have sneakers and they did it."