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Celebrate Independence at Fort Delaware

Celebrate Independence at Fort Delaware

NARROWSBURG — The celebration of American independence is so monumental for the Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History in Narrowsburg that it couldn’t be limited to just one day!

This year, Fort Delaware will offer special programming on three different days to mark the Independence Day celebration.

As part of the Bold Gold Media Speaker Series, on Thursday, July 4, Sullivan County Historian John Conway will present a program titled “A Settlement Divided,” which examines how the inexorable march to independence in 1776 effectively destroyed the Cushetunk settlement so that, by 1785, the first permanent European settlement on the Upper Delaware was largely abandoned. The program begins at 11 a.m. and is included in the price of admission to Fort Delaware.

Continuing the Bold Gold Media Speaker Series, on Saturday, July 6, performance artist Oliver King will deliver Frederick Douglass’ impassioned speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” in which Douglass praises the Founding Fathers and their creation of the greatest nation on earth, but then urges, “The blessings in which you enjoy, this day, are not enjoyed in common. The rich heritage of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your parents, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought you life and healing, brought me stripes and death. This 4th of July is yours, not mine. You can rejoice, I must complain.” The program starts at 3pm and is included in the entrance fee to the Fort.

The following Saturday, July 13, is Patriots’ and Loyalists’ Day at the Fort, highlighted by the reading aloud of the Declaration of Independence, followed by a Tory response and interaction among Cushetunk settlers, most of them content to remain under British rule. The readings will begin at 1 p.m. and will follow the presentation of The Delaware Company’s two annual awards, which take place at noon.

The James W. Burbank Memorial Award for outstanding contribution to local history during the preceding year will be presented to Elsie Kopcha of Harris, who has been an active volunteer and generous benefactor to Fort Delaware. The award is named in honor of former Sullivan County historian James W. Burbank, the man who designed and built Fort Delaware, who opened it in 1957. Mr. Burbank’s daughter, Peggy McIntyre, will be on hand to help present the award.

The Delaware Company President’s Award, which recognizes outstanding service to local history over a period of years, will be presented this year to the Cochecton Preservation Society.

The Fort Delaware Colonial History Museum is located on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway at 6615 Route 97 in Narrowsburg, NY. The fort is open from 10am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays in June, September and October and Thursdays to Sundays in July and August.

For more information about the Fort and a schedule of special events, visit The Delaware Company website, www.thedelawarecompany.org or The Delaware Company Facebook page.