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Juneteenth Celebrations Along Oregon Coast Last Longer Than June

Published 6/12/24 at 5:25 a.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Oregon Coast) – What started as a heartwrenching and yet landmark moment in U.S. history has finally become a national holiday. June 19 has long been known as Juneteenth, the day in 1865 that African slaves in Texas found out they had been emancipated two years earlier – and didn't know it. It's been celebrated since then by the Black community in ever-growing numbers. (Above: Coos Bay, courtesy Manuela Durson - Manuela Durson Fine Arts)

After finally becoming a national holiday in 2021, Oregon officially recognized it a year later. Yet on the Oregon coast it had been increasingly celebrated over the past two decades, and now it's reaching full bloom along these shores.

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Oregon Coast Visitors Association (OCVA) is noting a good list of these events – and what it means.

“Celebrating Black history along the coast, and sharing stories about Black history is an important step towards creating equitable opportunities and welcoming spaces for historically marginalized peoples,” OCVA said.

It turns out some of these are happening farther into summer than just in June.

First up is June 15, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Lincoln City Cultural Center.

The LCCC proudly hosts the city's second annual Juneteenth Celebration, a dynamic gathering that combines food, music, inspiring speakers, children's activities, and educational exhibits.

Live music includes groovin' to the soulful sounds of Motown and Stax, courtesy of Jimi Hardin and Hip Deep featuring Rebecca Westby. The keynote address will be given by Zachary Stocks, executive director of Oregon Black Pioneers.

For grub, dig into a complimentary barbecue lunch, prepared by Phill’s Smok’n Grill - served to the first 300 in attendance.

June 16, 2:00 p.m. at Yachats Commons

Again you'll find Zachary Stocks, an esteemed leader of the Oregon Black Pioneers group, this time in tiny Yachats. He'll present a captivating and educational voyage through Oregon’s rich Black history. In a concise 45-minute presentation, Stocks will delve into 450 years of African American experiences in the state. This enlightening event is sponsored by View the Future and will take place at the Yachats Commons on June 16 at 2 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to contribute a suggested donation of $5.

Founded in 1993, the Oregon Black Pioneers serves as the state’s sole historical society dedicated to preserving and sharing the remarkable narratives of African Americans. Often overlooked, these stories come alive through original exhibitions, scholarly publications, and rigorous historical research. Collaborative projects aimed at commemorating significant sites further underscore the organization’s commitment to amplifying voices that have long been marginalized.

It's a unique opportunity to explore Oregon’s hidden past and celebrate the resilience of its Black pioneers.

South Coast Equity Coalition: Juneteenth 2024 Family Reunion: June 18-21.

It happens in various south Oregon coast locations.

The South Coast Equity Coalition, in partnership with the Juneteenth Celebration Committee is hosting Coos and Curry County’s Annual Juneteenth Celebration June 18 - June 21. This year's event has expanded to include multiple locations on the Southern Oregon Coast including Coos Bay, Bandon, and Brookings. See the full schedule

The annual theme is Family Reunion - chosen because, for Black communities, family reunions have centered around resilience through storytelling, visibility, joy, and food.

The South Coast Equity Coalition is a free celebration in Coos and Curry County for three days of fun, education, entertainment, and activities for all.

Experience West African drumming provided by Gansango African Music and Dance Company. Teaching artists will engage participants in learning basic West African rhythms with hands-on use of drums, bells, shakers and clapping. These fun and interactive workshops will entertain and educate for all ages.

Join the Coos History Museum Free Day on June 18th (closed for Juneteenth on June 19th).

In partnership with the State Forests Trust of Oregon and multi-award-winning filmmaker and Creative Director Chad Brown, the Oregon Department of Forestry is hosting a special, temporary film and photography exhibit, ROOTS, at the Tillamook Forest Center (TFC) from June 15th to September 15th, 2024. The ROOTS exhibit focuses on past and present BIPOC outdoor recreationists who find joy and have accomplished milestones in pursuing the outdoor recreationist community. Learn more here.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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