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    This Black holiday predates Juneteenth

    By Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY,

    To celebrate Pinkster, a small crowd gathered at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in New York City on Saturday, May 25, 2024. About a dozen people trekked 7 miles in Manhattan to honor enslaved and free African people who celebrated the holiday in colonial New York. Eduardo Cuevas

    Cheyney McKnight waited years to celebrate Pinkster.

    On a scorching Saturday morning in May, McKnight put on her tailor-made 18th-century Malian mud cloth dress and trekked 7 miles with a dozen others to partake in a storied tradition.

    The group rattled shell shakers and tambourines and beat drums, strolling New York City sidewalks from an old farmhouse near the top of Manhattan to the New-York Historical Society, recreating a route free and enslaved Black people would have traveled in colonial times on Pinkster, the Dutch word for the Christian celebration of "Pentecost."

    The festival, which falls in May or June, began in the 1700s as a way for enslaved people in the region to escape isolation for a few days, promising joy, connection and dignity.

    Pinkster predates Juneteenth, the federal holiday next week that honors the end of enslavement in Galveston, Texas. Now, some lawmakers in New York want to codify Pinkster as an official day of commemoration alongside Juneteenth, hoping official recognition will expand understanding and appreciation for Black life in America .

    Keep scrolling for more stories about social justice in American life from USA TODAY.

    This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: This Black holiday predates Juneteenth

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