Juneteenth Celebrations at Southern Oregon University

ASHLAND, Ore. — As has become custom, Southern Oregon University will commemorate Juneteenth – the historical date that ended slavery in the United States – with the acknowledgement of the significant role played in the community by its Black African American students and faculty members.

The event takes place tomorrow, June 11, at 11 a.m. on the front lawn of the Churchill Hall and will culminate with a flag-raising ceremony of the Juneteenth flag by the SOU’s cadet members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Although the SOU commemoration event will be held tomorrow, the official date of Juneteeth is June 19th.


The Origin of Juneteenth

It all began on the evening of January 1, 1863, when African American slaves gathered across the country to hear the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had come into effect. However, not everyone was immediately free. According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Proclamation could not become effective in states under Confederate control, such as Texas.

But freedom did finally arrive on June 19, 1865, when 2,000–strong Union troop members marched into Galveston, announcing that 250,000 slaves in Texas were now free – the day that came to be known as Juneteenth.


SOU Juneteenth Program

The SOU program features guest speaker, Vaun Monroe, the assistant professor at the university’s Communication, Media, and Cinema program for students majoring in Digital Cinema. Other speakers will include university president, Rick Bailey, SOU assistant vice president for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Jonathan Chavez Baez, and Ashland city councilor, Gina DuQuenne.

Baez says Juneteenth is an important date in the history of the United States’ African American Black community. SOU commemorates the historic date because Black African American students and faculty members are part of the university community. “It is important that they are represented and honored because they belong on our campus.”

Baez explains that SOU chose the earlier date to commemorate the national holiday to enable students and staff members to attend the ceremony before the end of the school year.


Fusion Band BROTHER in Concert in Medford

The Southern Oregon Black Alliance and Social Empowerment organization is hosting a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 15, featuring BROTHER, the only independent band to play at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

BROTHER has shared the stage with stars such as Alicia Keys, and their music features the pulsing didgeridoo, tribal percussion, and bagpipes in an eclectic fusion of sound. The group will appear between the slots of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on June 15 at Pear Blossom Park in Medford, and at 6.45 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, at on the Bricks at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival campus.





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